A word from the RALF (February 2023)
What is RAM?
RAM stands for Rapid Assessment and Monitoring Method. The development of the RAM is a joint project between Local Government NSW and Local Land Services, funded by the NSW Environmental Trust through their Linear Reserves Program.
The RAM was developed to provide a simple approach for environmental groups, local councils, government agencies and landholders to assess vegetation quality and record conservation value.
Further information on the RAM is available in the LLS Rapid conservation assessment method: Training package and guidelines. Click here to download.
A mobile RAM app has been developed, with innovative functionality. The aim is for a higher target audience to be reached, with users able to perform quick and easy assessments on site.
How do you use it?
Riverina Local Land Services (RLLS) staff are currently undergoing training with Ian Davidson, an Ecologist who has been involved in the RAM for many years. The intent is to train RLLS staff in using the RAM so that they are able to facilitate landholders to use the app to collect data for longer term projects. LLS staff can train landholders and assist them in collecting the baseline data at the start of a project, so that the landholders can then collect the data themselves for annual monitoring. This data can be extracted by the RLLS GIS team to measure change on the ground, based on adoption of different management actions.
“The basic competencies required will be the ability to load and use a mobile phone/tablet, and basic vegetation identification in the field e.g. main tree species and whether the ground layer is mostly native perennial grass or weed” said Ian Davidson.
Who can use it?
The RAM enables land managers with limited time and/or botanical skills to assess the value of conservation sites in a short time frame. This is then recorded, scored and compared with other sites over time. Photo monitoring points will also monitor changes in regeneration, weeds, grazing impacts, and other site conditions over a period of time.
It is a simple and effective way for LLS staff to effectively record and monitor vegetation conditions of Travelling Stock Reserves, roadside reserves and paddocks, while collecting information on habitat and vegetation features and threats and disturbances.
The RAM also provides Councils with a tool to assess roadside reserve environmental characteristics and assign conservation values to assist in their management.
This article was written by Jade Auldist. Jade is the Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) for the Riverina region. Her role supports farmers, industry and community groups (including Landcare Groups) to adopt new and innovative sustainable agriculture practices.
For further information on this article, please contact Jade at firstname.lastname@example.org.