Biodiversity information has been collected for the state since the earliest times of European settlement. This information was initially stored, along with Australian plant and animal specimens, in the vast museum and herbarium collections of Europe.
With the increase of our own Australian museums and herbaria in the early 19th century this critical information began to be stored and analysed in our own organisations. The expansion of the Australian national protected area system in the 1970s, and the need to understand and manage our natural environments for nature conservation, coincided with the first wave of Australian scientists to be trained in the new science of ecology. The amount of data and information being collected rapidly expanded, and standards and regulations for the collection and management of the information became necessary.
Since that time, a substantial expansion in the number of biodiversity projects, with the associated increase in more detailed biodiversity information, has increased the need for improved information sharing to ensure researchers around the world are provided with the latest data.
Mapping and information for the distribution and condition of our state’s soil and land resources has also been developed. This is used to support planning, policy development, and on-ground decision making for a range of important environmental issues, including the sustainable management of soil and land resources (eg combating erosion, salinity, acidification), land use planning, climate change adaptation, and other areas of integrated natural resource management.
Information and data is shared through various forms. These include: