Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA)

EIANZ Ecology has set up a Working Group to develop Guidelines for Ecological impact Assessment (EcIA). We are developing a first draft set of Generic Guidelines that can be applied in a wide range of places and circumstances and guide the development of best practice in both the profession and regulation. They describe the principles and processes behind a robust EcIA.

A second Tier will then be developed that take the jurisdictional legal / regulatory frameworks so that the Guidelines begin to focus on the consenting or permitting requirements in different contexts.

Image: NW Tasmania old-growth logging. {{cc-by-sa-2.0}} Source - T Taylor

A final tier of information will include a list of relevant statutory documents and a reference list for survey and monitoring, the latter essential to supporting high standards of field work. Both the latter and the second tier documentation will be provided as moderated Wiki pages, so they can evolve with changes in regulation and published studies.

1 What is EcIA?
2 Why do we need guidelines?
  • improved biodiversity management.
  • consistency (amongst ecologists and across EIAs).
  • transparency in the decision making process.
  • accuracy and rigour - in science and its use in decision-making.
  • excellence - to raise the standards of ecological practice.
  • comparability (between projects and assessments).
  • facilitate communication and co-operation between ecologists.
  • explain ecology to decision-makers.
3 Why should EIANZ lead the development of Guidelines?
  • largest organisation of Australian, New Zealand and Pasifika ecologists.
  • focus on environmental management - "applied ecology".
  • networks of professional ecologists within wider environmental professionals.
4 What sort of things will they cover?
  • See IEEM Guidelines ( Note, the IEEM Guidelines were drafted by experts in EcIA who have also gone on to develop documentation on Biodiversity Offsets, which we are also including in the process. IEEM have kindly given permission to use text from their guidelines verbatim, where this can be generically applied.
5 How will they be developed?

Generic Guidelines development:
  1. Discuss at EIANZ October 2008 conference.
  2. Working group develop draft Generic Guidelines in liaison with Ecological Societies (Australia and New Zealand), Planning Institutes, Academic Experts, Associations for Impact Assessment, EIANZ SIS on Impact Assessment and others....
  3. Discuss draft within EIANZ and at EIANZ Council.
  4. Final Generic Guidelines draft.
  5. Workshop at the INTECOL conference in Brisbane in August 2009.
  6. Finalisation of consultation draft. Discussion at EIANZ Conference in Canberra.
  7. Continual improvement, feedback and redevelopment through applied use.
  8. Endorsement by state / federal agencies?
Jurisdictional regulatory frameworks layer:
  1. Develop drafts in liaison with local planning institutes, environmental law groups etc - tailor the generic to national, state, provincial, local legislation requirements. (For example, in NZ this means the RMA, Conservation Act, Local Government Act, Reserves Act and Assessment of Environmental Effects requirements).
  2. Put these out for wider local consultation /discussion via Wiki page.
  3. Recruit moderators for specific pages.
  4. Finalise, release and promote!
Statutory documents and survey standards.
  1. Release Wiki pages.
  2. Invite input from profession.
  3. Small steering committee to moderate changed content.
If you have any comments now, or would like to be involved in this project please contact Judith Roper-Lindsay (

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