Nature conservation

Conserving biodiversity

Conserving biodiversity in NSW

Green Turtle

What is Biodiversity?

'Biodiversity' or 'biological diversity' is the variety of life on earth and can be thought of in terms of genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. Biodiversity includes all the different plants (from lichen and mosses to shrubs and trees), animals (invertebrates, frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals) and micro-organisms such as bacteria.

Why is biodiversity important?

Biodiversity is vital in supporting human life on Earth. It provides many benefits, including food, medicines and industrial products. It supplies clean air and water, and fertile soils.

Australia is home to more than one million species of plants and animals, many of which are unique. About 82 per cent of our mammals and 93 per cent of our frogs are found nowhere else in the world. Over the last 200 years, the Australian environment has been modified dramatically. Australia has lost 75 per cent of its rainforests and has the world's worst record of mammal extinctions.

How can we protect biodiversity?

Protecting the biodiversity of NSW is a major challenge. It cannot be done just by setting aside land in national parks and reserves; it needs the people of NSW to be involved in community conservation across the landscape.

The NSW Government's Biodiversity Strategy sets out a plan of action to achieve this. The strategy was launched by the Minister for the Environment in 1999. As a 'whole of government' strategy it commits all government agencies to work towards protecting biodiversity in NSW. 

Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030

On 27 October 2010 the Commonwealth Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, released Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030 on behalf of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council.

The Strategy has been developed by the Australian Government in collaboration with all state and territory governments. It is a significant national policy that will guide governments, the community, Indigenous peoples, land managers, industry and scientists in the management and protection of Australia's plants, animals and ecosystems - its biodiversity - over the next 20 years.

The Strategy has a long-term vision where Australia's biodiversity is healthy and resilient to threats, and valued both in its own right and for its essential contribution to our existence.

To achive this vision, the Strategy sets out three priorities for action: 'Engaging all Australians', 'Building ecosystem resilience in a changing climate', and 'Getting measurable results'. Each priority is supported by outcomes, measurable targets and actions.

The Strategy is available from the Commonwealth's Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website: Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030.   

Find out more about:

  • the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, predicted to be the greatest long-term threat to biodiversity
  • the characteristics and conservation status of each bioregion of NSW.
Page last updated: 19 February 2013