Staff and students who wish to collect specimens from public land and water must seek permission and comply with the relevant legislative requirements.
Scientific research undertaken on public land (and water) in Victoria must have the approval of the land manager and meet legislative requirements under a number of acts, including the Wildlife Act 1975, the National Parks Act 1975, the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the Reference Areas Act 1978.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is responsible for administering the research permit process in Victoria to ensure compliance with biodiversity conservation and legislative requirements. Similar requirements apply in other States.
The School of BioSciences is committed to ensuring it is compliant with these requirements and has developed procedures to ensure that all staff and students are aware of, and comply with, the requirements of collecting and research on public land.
Responsibilities when collecting on public land
- Ensure that you are authorised for collecting/research under an appropriate permit.
- Seek the necessary approval of the appropriate local land manager (e.g. Ranger-in-Charge of National Park) within the time frame stipulated on the collection permit.
- Keep a record of the local land manager’s requests regarding your collections and summarise your resulting actions for inclusion in your final report to the Plant Collecting Permit Officer.
- Comply with all permit conditions.
- Carry a copy of the permit with you at all times during field work for permitted collections.
- Record all your permitted activity in your field notebook so that it can easily be summarised for inclusion in your final report.
How to request access and permission to collect on public land
For parks, reserves and ports managed by Parks Victoria access requests must be made with the Area Chief Ranger. See park locations and contact information for staff (Parks Victoria website).
For state forests and conservation reserves managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), access requests must be made with the BioDiversity Officer. Park locations can be found on the DELWP website and using the MapShare portal.
See the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning web site for information on all permits for Victoria, and to download an application form for a permit to take protected flora.
School of Biosciences plant collecting permit
The School of BioSciences has a general collection permit issued under the National Parks Act 1975 and the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 for the collection of "herbarium specimens and minimal quantities of seed and propagation material" from all public land and waters in Victoria, including National Parks and reserves.
This permit is issued to Associate Professor Andrew Drinnan (Director, University of Melbourne Herbarium).
The Plant-Collecting Permit Officer, who monitors compliance on all permit issues and has the authority to authorise specific staff and students to operate under the conditions of the permit, is Dr Joanne Birch (Curator, University of Melbourne Herbarium).
What the permit covers
This permit allows for the collection of:
- Taxa: all except members of the Orchidaceae family and threatened taxa (Schedule 2 or Section 10 of Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988)
- Plant parts: herbarium specimens and minimal quantities of seed and propagation material.
- Taxon based research: a maximum of five herbarium specimens per research site per taxon per park and up to 50g of dried vegetative biomass and 5% of reproductive material per individual and up to 5% of any taxon per population, whichever is less.
- Population based research: up to 30 individuals per species per location and up to 5g of dried vegetative biomass and 2% of the reproductive material per individual, and /or up to 5% of any taxon per population, whichever is less
- Teaching trips: collection of plant, algal, and fungal material sufficient for laboratory classes and small samples for the generation of field herbaria
This largely restricts the use of the permit to activities that have a short duration, sporadic frequency, and minimal impact on the population or environment, such as systematic studies, sampling small amounts of material for DNA extraction, or collecting cuttings to establish plants for a glasshouse experiment.
This permit is particularly amenable to projects with a broad geographical scope where it may be necessary to sample a species in a particular National Park on only one occasion.
How to obtain authorisation to use the permit
All staff and students wanting to use the School of BioSciences plant collecting permit should contact the Plant Collecting Permit Officer (Dr Joanne Birch) and explain the proposed activity.
If it falls within the conditions of the School of BioSciences permit, the Plant Collecting Permit Officer will organise your authorisation and give you a copy of the permit.
All staff and students undertaking research that involves activities permitted under the permit must be signed onto the permit by the permit officer to obtain a copy.
The School of BioSciences Research permit is not transferrable and is only valid for use by the permit holder.
Conducting research under the permit
- Staff and students using the School of BioSciences plant collection permit must follow the procedures for making field collections outlined in the School of BioSciences Research Permit Procedure [PDF]
- Staff and students authorised to make collections under the permit must record all activity conducted under a permit and submit study and collection details [MS Excel] to the plant collecting permit officer on the report form [MS Word] provided on request
- Voucher specimens collected under the permit must be accessioned at MELU. Duplicates of voucher specimens can be sent to other herbaria, but the provision of these specimens must be coordinated with the University of Melbourne Herbarium Curator
- Collection data for voucher specimens collected under the permit must be provided to MELU on the MELU Collection Data Template [MS Excel]
- If you are collecting on the School of BioSciences general plant collecting permit, you will need to forward this information to the Plant Collecting Permit Officer once a year, as requested by the permit officer.
Research activity outside conditions of the permit
If your proposed activity involves an extensive and sustained field component, and if it is based substantially in one or just a few locations then you should apply for an individual permit specific to your research project.
For example, this would apply to an ecological study where sustained experimentation and data collecting is necessary.
Contact the Plant Collecting Permit Officer and they will advise you as to the appropriate permit.
Where specimens that are to be accessioned at MELU were collected using other plant collecting permits (e.g. for other states) a copy of each permit must be supplied to the Plant Collecting Permit Officer to be held in a central file in The University of Melbourne Herbarium. Permit data will be stored in the collection management database for each of the specimens that were collected under the permit.