BioNet is evolving

Keep up to date on changes to BioNet applications.

On 25 August 2017, legislative reforms to the Biodiversity Conservation Act and Local Land Services Act came into force.

These reforms will bring to life the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM), a scientifically robust, metric-based approach to valuing biodiversity. In support of these reforms and the new BAM, the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) is enhancing existing processes and systems.

What has changed?

  • New product names and terminology across existing BioNet systems including:
    • Atlas of NSW Wildlife
    • NSW Vegetation Information Systems (VIS)
    • Threatened Species Profile Database (TSPD).
  • New data-driven vegetation integrity benchmarks for more than 650 bioregional vegetation classes showing reference condition for:
    • richness and cover of native trees
    • shrubs, grasses
    • forbs, ferns, and other growth forms
    • cover of litter
    • the length of logs and numbers of large trees.
  • Vegetation classification will become more data-driven and BioMetric Vegetation Types (BVTs) will be removed in line with the retirement of Catchment Management Authority (CMA) administrative boundaries. There will be no change to Plant Community Types (PCTs).
  • New attributes used to assess threatened biodiversity under regulatory frameworks will be introduced.
  • Web service functionality will expand to support BioNet by providing open and transparent access to data.

OEH recognises an inconsistent use of legacy product and system names that have resulted in ambiguity and confusion for users. The legislative reforms have also prompted the need to standardise product names so that they are clearly and consistently referenced in legislation.

Now From 21 August
Systems and data System user interface (how you will access data) Data collections
BioNet – Atlas of NSW Wildlife, VIS Flora Survey, TSPD BioNet Atlas
  • Species Sightings
  • Species names
  • Threatened Biodiversity Profiles
  • Systematic Surveys
VIS – Classification, New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment (NSWVCA) BioNet Vegetation Classification
  • Vegetation Classification
    • Plant community types (including % cleared values)
    • Condition benchmarks
  • NSW Landscapes
VIS Map Catalogue OEH Open Data Portal
  • Vegetation Maps
    • State Vegetation Map
  • Threatened Ecological Community Distribution maps
  • Species Distribution Maps

New approaches to benchmarks will enable site-scaled comparisons of vegetation integrity to be made and inform natural resource management decision-making tools such as the BAM. The BAM improves on past approaches in six core areas:

  • benchmarks will become data-driven, reducing the reliance on expert opinion
  • assessment by cover of vegetation strata will be replaced by a more accurate and consistent assessment of vegetation growth forms
  • static attribute weights will be replaced by dynamic attribute weights
  • the number of large trees will replace the number of trees with hollows in the functional assessment of woody bioregional vegetation classes
  • a new approach to creating a vegetation integrity score whereby composition, structure and function scores are aggregated using the geometric mean will be introduced
  • a semi-quantitative approach to scoring attribute condition will be replaced by a continuous nonlinear function to avoid the steep thresholds of prior approaches.

Changes are being implemented to allow for a more quantitative and streamlined approach to vegetation classification.

  • The VIS - Classification application will change to the BioNet Vegetation Classification application.
  • The CMA based BVT classification will be removed from the system. There will be no change to the PCT classification at this stage.
  • PCT data will connect to field survey plot data to support traceability and improve ongoing maintenance by:
    • locating reference sites for each PCT
    • intersecting plots with GIS layers for PCT maintenance.
  • The PCT schema will be simplified through the removal of legacy data fields.

The Threatened Species Profile Database is changing to a Threatened Biodiversity data collection maintained in the BioNet-Atlas application. New data concepts required to support the BAM allow for a set of attributes to describe the value of populations, threatened species and ecological communities, including:

  • a defined unit of measure by which a threatened species is to be assessed under the BAM
  • sensitivity to potential gain and loss scores, and associated criteria to determine these scores
  • the level of biodiversity concern based on sensitivity to potential gain and loss scores, replacing the Tg score used under current offset methods
  • biodiversity risk weightings used in BAM calculations
  • whether the entity will trigger a potential Serious and Irreversible Impact (SAII) and any associated thresholds.

How will web services support enhancements to BioNet products?

BioNet web services let organisations and individuals directly integrate biodiversity data into their software systems and unlock the innovation potential of this community-owned data asset.

Where can I get support?

All updates on the BioNet Data and Systems upgrade will be posted on the BioNet homepage.

Helpful documentation, including quick reference guides and user manuals, will also be uploaded to the BioNet Quick Guides and Manuals page as they become available.

Contact our support team at if you have any questions.