1. What is the Australian Natural Heritage Assessment Tool (ANHAT)?
ANHAT analyses data on species distribution from a range of plant and animal surveys and collections from across Australia. It can generate a report for each Natural Resource Management (NRM) region.
- For more information, visit: What is ANHAT?
ANHAT contains information on the distribution of over 30,000 Australian species. This includes all mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and fish, 137 families of vascular plants (over 15,000 species) and a range of invertebrate groups. The list of families is shown in Appendix 1 of your Biodiversity Summary.
2. What is the NRM Biodiversity Summary?
The NRM Biodiversity Summary is generated from ANHAT to highlight important elements of regional biodiversity to assist NRM bodies in their planning and regional actions. Please see the Cover Page for additional information.
3. Who should use it?
Anyone involved in the planning and delivery of Australian natural resource management activities.
4. How can it help me?
It can help you in two ways:
- By showing plants and animals that may require special attention because they are only found in the local area, mainly in the local area or have a conservation status such as 'endangered' or 'vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
- By comparing your region to other parts of Australia in terms of the composition and distribution of its plants and animals. This may help identify species and groups of species that are nationally significant.
5. What can't it do?
ANHAT contains information on a range of species – you can refer to Question 1 for more information. However species groups not yet covered in ANHAT won't be included in the summary.
The data come from authoritative sources, but they aren't perfect. All species names have been confirmed as valid, but it's not possible to confirm all species locations. The report summarises the input data, so any data errors would be reflected in the report.
6. How often are the summary and national species richness and endemism maps updated?
They will be updated periodically.
7. Do the Biodiversity Summaries include threatened species listed under the State legislation?
Not at this stage. However, they do include species listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
8. Where does the data come from?
Sources include national and state herberia, museums, state governments, CSIRO, Birds Australia and a number of organisations and private individuals. For more information check the list in Appendix 2 of the Summary, or refer to the Cover Page on the limitations of the Summary.
9. Can I get a similar report for a specific place within or outside my region?
At this stage these reports are only available for the whole of each NRM region.
10. Why are the reports showing some species missing from an area or showing in other areas when they should be restricted to a specific region only??
Many species records were not provided with date information. So, although records prior to 1950 were excluded from all the reports some historical records will be included where they did not have date information attached.
If there is a species that you think should or should not be present in your region please email the details of the species and the NRM region to firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. Under the Species List there are families with a note at the bottom saying, for example, "This region rates highly for richness of Fabaceae - Peas," or "This region rates highly for endemism of Scincidae - Skinks." What does that mean?
This means that the species in the named family which are present in the region combine to give the region in question a very high level of species richness or endemism compared to all other NRM regions in Australia.
ANHAT estimates species richness and endemism for every half a degree (roughly 50km) square across Australia. A statement that 'the region rates highly' means that one or more squares in the region rated close to the top of the range when compared with all 50km squares across Australia for the overall numbers of species (richness), or the number of restricted species (endemism). Because the threshold for the reports was set to analyse for values in the top 2%, this means that values identified in each report are in the top 2% of all the 50km squares across the country.
Endemism estimates the degree to which the species found in an area have small or restricted distribution ranges. Places of high weighted endemism contain a component of Australia's biodiversity which is restricted to this area or is found in few other places.
12. Can I get a similar Summary for Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) Regions?
This may be considered in a future development of the tool.
13. How do you verify the data used to generate the Summary?
Please refer to the Cover Page for more information.
14. Are subspecies included in the Summary?
No - only species are shown in the summaries, subspecies are not included at this time.
15. Can I get a copy of the original species location records?
No - we are bound by the agreements with our data providers. Many of our providers have restricted our use of their data so that we are unable to pass on the original records without first getting approval from them.
16. On the maps, how do I interpret the values for species richness and weighted endemism?
Species richness counts the number of different species within a particular area for a particular group of species – for example, the number of species of snakes.
Endemic species are those which occur only in a small area. Weighted endemism estimates the degree to which the species found in an area have small distribution ranges. Places of high weighted endemism contain a component of Australia's biodiversity which is restricted to this area or is found in few other places.
On these maps, richness and endemism scores are calculated for a moving 30km square window, but summarised to the degree grid shown on the maps.
For more detail on the methods used to estimate species richness and endemism, see An assessment of endemism and species richness patterns in the Australian Anura.