What are our priorities in acquiring land?
Given that some regions have far more conservation reserves than others, we need to take a strategic approach in acquiring areas for conservation. Nevertheless, in most bioregions there are ecosystems that are poorly represented in the current reserve system.
What types of environment need to be better represented in the reserve system?
We have placed a high priority on acquiring land that contains the following:
- native grasslands
- semi-arid and arid environments
- sites containing threatened species, communities and ecosystems
- breeding sites for native plants and animals, such as drought refuges or nursery areas
- places of geological interest, such as cave systems and fossil sites
- places where natural features are significant to Aboriginal people
- properties which lie within, or provide improved management access to, existing reserves.
Which parts of New South Wales need more conservation reserves?
In considering the acquisition of land, we aim to protect the broadest possible range of the State's natural and cultural heritage. The reserve system must reflect the wide variety of landscapes and environments in NSW - from the lush rainforests of the north-east, to the semi-arid and arid rangelands of the far west, to the old-growth forests of the far south coast. The size and shape of reserves must also be adequate to enable efficient management for the long-term protection of this diverse heritage.
This approach to the development of the State's reserve network is encapsulated in the conservation principles of comprehensive, adequate and representative - or 'CAR' for short.
The broad framework within which CAR is applied and measured is the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA). NSW is represented in 18 of these 'bioregions' or areas of similar climate, geology, soils, landforms and vegetation.
Some of these bioregions - the Australian Alps and the Sydney Basin, for example - are well represented with large reserves. Others, especially those in the west, are poorly represented. The Broken Hill Complex bioregion and the NSW South Western Slopes bioregion, for example, each have around only 2% of their area protected in the reserve system.
The reservation program also seeks to protect habitat corridors and 'stepping stones'. This serves to assist in maintaining ecological connectivity throughout the State, enhancing the robustness of the reserve system by improving the viability of its flora and fauna populations.
NPWS's strategy to create a diverse and resilient reserve system.
Progress in the creation of the reserve system:
within an 'ecosystem' context (as defined by NSW Landscapes (Mitchell) mapping as a surrogate) - Statistics
Purchasing land in western NSW: Currently, just 4% of western NSW is held in NPWS reserves, and many ecosystems and aspects of Aboriginal cultural heritage are not adequately represented. Find out how we are developing the western reserve system.
Page last updated: 06 August 2012