Management Planning for Nature Conservation || Action Plan

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<ul><li><p>321M. Alexander, Management Planning for Nature Conservation: A Theoretical Basis &amp; Practical Guide, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-5116-3_17, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013</p><p> Abstract This is a rather mechanical chapter. It is concerned with the process of preparing programmes and schedules, and it requires a methodical or structured approach. The action plan contains descriptions of all the work that needs to be carried out on a site in order to meet the objectives. Each individual task or project is identi fi ed and described in suf fi cient detail to enable the individuals responsible for the project to carry out the work. All the basic information for each project (i.e. when and where the work should be completed, who should do the work, the priority, what it will cost, etc.) is aggregated and used to produce a wide range of work programmes, for example, annual programmes, programmes for a speci fi ed period, programmes for an individual, fi nancial programmes, long-term programmes, etc. An action plan is prepared for a speci fi ed period, usually 5 years. Action plans also provide a structure, and establish priorities, for recording . </p><p> 17.1 Background </p><p> Most, but not all, guides to management planning recognise the need for an action plan. The earliest UK guides use the word prescription to describe the action plan (Wood and Warren 1976, 1978 ; NCC 1981, 1983, 1988 ) . In 1992, during the prepa-ration of the fi rst Ramsar guidelines on management planning, several participants felt that prescription held little meaning in languages other than English, and, as a consequence, the term action plan was introduced. Since that time, this has become the most common term used in European planning (Alexander 1996, 2000a, b , 2005 ; English Nature 2005 ; Ramsar Convention Bureau 2002 ) . The Eurosite guide ( 1999 ) includes a very brief section called implementation, which recognises the need to divide work into individual projects and to use these as the basis for generating various work programmes. The action plan is given surprisingly little </p><p> Chapter 17 Action Plan </p></li><li><p>322 17 Action Plan</p><p>attention by Margoluis and Salafsky ( 1998 ) . They use the term activities, but these are not given detailed consideration in their book. The IUCN guide (Thomas and Middleton 2003 ) pays even less attention to management activities. </p><p> 17.2 Preparing an Action Plan </p><p> 17.2.1 Projects </p><p> A project is a clearly de fi ned and planned unit of work. These are the corner-stones of action planning. Everything else is derived directly from the informa-tion contained in the individual project plan. There is an extremely wide range of different types of projects that can be active on a site. In the mid 1970s, the UK Nature Conservancy Council introduced a system of codes linked to standard descriptions which were intended to provide a common basis for describing work on their National Nature Reserves. This list, signi fi cantly modi fi ed and updated, is still used by most conservation organisations in the UK and by many organisa-tions in other countries. The list is now maintained by the CMS Consortium. It is organised in a hierarchical structure, beginning with three main divisions: Recording, Management and Administration. </p><p> Fig. 17.1 Water level management </p></li><li><p>32317.2 Preparing an Action Plan</p><p> Table 17.1 Project codes The three main divisions R Recording M Management A Administration RA Record, fauna MA Manage other land AA Site acquisition/declaration RB Record, biology general </p><p> MB Manage habitat, hedgerows </p><p> AE Employ staff </p><p> RC Record cultural heritage </p><p> MC Manage cultural features </p><p> AF Financial planning and recording </p><p> RF Record, vegetation ME Manage site infrastructure AI Inspections and audits RH Record, human interaction </p><p> MH Manage habitat AL Legal matters and payments </p><p> RM Record, marine MI Information/education/interpretation/events </p><p> AN Site designation RP Record, physical environment </p><p> AP Planning, plan preparation and revision ML Liaison with stakeholders </p><p> RV Record, archive general, photos, maps etc. </p><p> MM Manage machinery and equipment </p><p> AR Reports and general correspondence </p><p> MN Manage habitat, marine AS Site and species safeguard, law enforcement &amp; admin. </p><p> MP Patrol AT Training and management </p><p> MS Manage species MU Manage earth science </p><p> Table 17.2 Projects for recording </p><p> RA Record Fauna, is divided: Each category is further divided, for example: RA0 Collect data, mammals </p><p> RA0 Collect data, mammals RA00 Collect data, mammals, general RA1 Collect data, birds RA01 Collect data, mammals, natural event RA2 Collect data, herptiles RA02 Collect data, mammals, survey RA3 Collect data, fi sh RA03 Collect data, mammals, monitor RA4 Collect data, Lepidoptera RA04 Collect data, mammals, count/estimate/</p><p>measure/census RA5 Collect data, Odonata RA05 Collect data, mammals, research project RA6 Collect data, Orthoptera RA06 Collect data, mammals, list species RA7 Collect data, other insects RA8 Collect data, other invertebrates RA9 Collect data, fauna, general </p></li><li><p>324 17 Action Plan</p><p> These examples 1 have been included to demonstrate the wide range of projects that can be active on a site. The standard codes and the associated project titles are used, unmodi fi ed, by all users. In a site-speci fi c context, each individual project code can be divided up to 99 times, and each division is numbered and accompanied by a qualifying phrase. For example:</p><p> RA03 Collect data, mammals, monitor RA03 /01 Collect data, mammals, monitor, grey seals RA03 /02 Collect data, mammals, monitor, bank voles </p><p> 17.2.2 Relationship Between Projects and Objectives </p><p> The list of projects for a site will include all the work that is required to meet all the objectives. The projects must be linked, and relevant, to the manage-ment objectives. This is for two reasons: it will enable managers to cost the individual objectives, and, more importantly, it will ensure that there is a purpose for all the </p><p> Table 17.3 Management projects </p><p> MH Manage habitat is divided: Each category is further divided, for example: MH0 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub </p><p> MH0 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub MH1 Manage habitat, grassland MH2 Manage habitat, controlling invasive species MH3 Manage habitat, heath MH4 Manage habitat, bog/mire/ fl ush MH5 Manage habitat, swamp/fen/inundation MH6 Manage habitat, open water/rivers MH7 Manage habitat, coastal MH8 Manage habitat, rock MH9 Manage habitat, upland/montane </p><p> MH00 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, by coppicing MH01 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, by planting/sowing MH02 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, by thinning/group felling MH03 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, aiding natural regeneration MH04 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, maintaining ride/path/glade MH06 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, by enclosure/exclosure MH07 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, by scrub control MH08 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, by managing dead wood MH09 Manage habitat, forest/woodland/scrub, by other activities </p><p> 1 The full list of project codes is available as a free download from: www.software4conservation.com </p></li><li><p>32517.2 Preparing an Action Plan</p><p>work planned for a site. When auditing sites, one of the most frequently encoun-tered problems is active projects for which there is no justi fi cation. These are things that people do simply because that is the way things have always been done: often they are projects that were initiated at some time in the past by staff who have long since moved on. </p><p> There is a slight complication in that an individual project will often have relevance to more than one objective. For example, a project to maintain anti-poaching patrols in an African reserve can be relevant to protecting elephant, large ungulates, croco-diles and even the savannah habitat (poachers burn the vegetation to catch game). Each species and the habitat is a feature which requires an individual objective. </p><p> The relationship between the individual monitoring projects and the objectives is established when the objectives and performance indicators are identi fi ed. Every objective has associated performance indicators. (Objectives for conservation features and all other sections in a management plan must be quanti fi ed and measurable). The performance indicators for conservation objectives are based on attributes and factors: each attribute and measurable factor has an associated monitoring project. (Occasionally, surveillance projects will be used in place of monitoring projects). All management projects are identi fi ed, or con fi rmed, in the rationale (con fi rmed when there is already a history of conservation management). </p><p> 17.2.3 Planning Individual Projects </p><p> The following information should be included in all individual project plans: </p><p> W hy the Project Is Necessary The fi rst consideration when planning every individual project must be: what objective or objectives is the project linked to? This should be followed by: why is the project necessary? (i.e. the intended outcome must be explained). There is a need to provide this information for other people, but the most important function is to ensure that managers pay adequate attention to justifying everything that they do. </p><p> Potential Impact on Other Features When planning management projects, it is essential that the implication of the work for other features is considered. In some cases, this could extend to completing an impact assessment. As an example: A wetland site contains a number of ephemeral lakes that are particularly important because they contain rare communities of aquatic plants. The lakes gradually silt up, and there is a need for occasional dredging. The lakes also contain populations of otter and several important breeding birds (these are also protected features). The management of the lakes is essential, not only for the aquatic fl ora but also for the otters and birds. An impact assessment will take all of this into account, and a management approach designed to minimise impact </p></li><li><p>326 17 Action Plan</p><p>on the protected features will be devised. Obviously, the work will be undertaken outside the breeding seasons, and only small sections will be dredged at any time. This will ensure that most of the habitat is always in the required condition. </p><p> On some statutory sites, there will be a legal requirement to obtain formal consent before carrying out any management work which has potential to in fl uence any of the features. </p><p> When the Project Is Active Projects can be a one-off activity or something that is repeated annually or several times each year. An action plan is prepared for a speci fi ed period, usually 5 years. With occasional exceptions, it is dif fi cult to plan any further ahead. Some organisations, for example the Countryside Council for Wales, maintain their reserve plans on a 5 year programme which rolls forward at the end of each fi nancial year. This means that the plans are always valid for at least 4 years. In addition, expensive capital projects or acquisitions are planned over a 10 year period. For example, it is usually possible to estimate the life expectancy of a major boardwalk or of expensive machinery that will have to be replaced at intervals. The ability to predict fi nancial and staff requirements is a management necessity for many organisations. </p><p> Managers will need to decide when, and how many times, during a year a project will be active (sometimes work is seasonal, for example, monitoring nesting birds). There is also a need to identify the year, or years, within the life of a plan that a proj-ect will be active. Obviously, some will be active each year or even several times each year. </p><p> Where the Work Will Be Carried Out For many projects, the precise location where the work should be carried out is an important consideration. Maps can be extremely useful to show, for example, the location of surveillance plots or the line that a new fence will follow. </p><p> Resources Resource planning is as important, if not more so, than any other section in the action plan. Whenever possible, the plan should identify the resource requirement ( fi nancial and staff) necessary to complete each project. This will allow managers to attribute full costs to a project and enable the preparation of work plans. It is only through assessing the resource requirements for each project and aggregating this data that it becomes possible to make a justi fi ed case for resources. This could include the information essential for a successful grant application. </p><p> Expenditure The cost of each project should be calculated and the potential or actual source of funds identi fi ed. Some organisations use fi nancial coding systems to organise internal </p></li><li><p>32717.2 Preparing an Action Plan</p><p>expenditure. The reserve manager will often be obliged to comply with organisa-tional protocols. </p><p> Staff This can include employed staff and, for some organisations, volunteers. Whenever possible, the plan should identify the individuals responsible for carrying out each project and give an indication of the time required of each person. This will enable the preparation of various work plans. Staff shortages are usually one of the major problems faced by conservation managers. There is rarely any purpose in stating the obvious, i.e. we need more staff, unless this can be quanti fi ed. The most persuasive argument is to list the work that will not be carried out as a consequence of staff shortages. Demonstrating that there will be a failure to protect the features, to meet health and safety requirements, or to provide safe facilities for visitors will often persuade the most intransigent senior staff. </p><p> Priority It is rarely, if ever, possible to complete all the work on a site, and there can be many different reasons for failure. The completion of any outdoor work will be constrained by seasonal variations, the vagaries of weather and other natural conditions. Resources, or more speci fi cally the lack of adequate resources, will always restrict a managers ability to do all the work that is necessary to manage a site. Managers can never expect to do everything that they need to do, let alone what they want to do. This is why it is essential that all projects are prioritised: if managers had unlimited resources they would not need priorities. </p><p> I have been attempting to devise priority systems for over 15 years, and I have learned that the simpler the system (i.e. the fewer priorities) the more likely it is to be effectiv...</p></li></ul>

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