The EAS group as part of the DELWP has access to large range of biodiversity data held by the Victorian Government. Victoria has collected and maintained this data over many decades, and holds many millions of records of the distribution of plants and animals across the State.
Biodiversity is generally not very respectful of state borders and other political boundaries. To help us understand the distribution of both common, and rare and restricted species we have formed data sharing agreements with agencies from our neighbouring States. We also source additional data from other non-Government sources where this is of sufficient quality and reliability. This information significantly enhances our ability to predict the distribution of species within Victoria, and more broadly across the whole of south-eastern Australia.
Our colleagues within the Arthur Rylah Institute have considerable knowledge and expertise in many of the taxa found across south-eastern Australia. Our ability to easily consult with people who are considered species experts allows to cross-check the validity and usefulness of many of our products, such as species distribution models.
We are also mindful that ecological data is almost always biased in both the environmental and spatial dimensions. Over the last couple of years the group has been evaluating methods that may reduce these biases when the data are used for spatial modelling. These approaches do not solve the problem completely, but do highlight the importance of valid and accurate field for ecological modelling.