Nature conservation

Biodiversity Reform

NSW - the bioregional landscape

The diversity of NSW landscapes is evident in the wide range of the state's bioregions. Those bioregions in western NSW represent:

  • sandy deserts (Simpson-Strzelecki Dunefields, Channel Country, Murray Darling Depression)
  • riverine plains (Riverina, Darling Riverine Plains)
  • rocky ranges (Mulga Lands, Broken Hill Complex)
  • rolling downs (Cobar Peneplain).

 

Towards the east of the State, there are:

  • lush rainforests (NSW North Coast, South East Corner)
  • rugged mountains (Sydney Basin, New England Tableland, Australian Alps, South Eastern Highlands)
  • undulating ranges (Brigalow Belt South, Nandewar)
  • fragile, wooded grasslands (NSW South Western Slopes).

 

The 17 bioregions found in NSW vary considerably in the types of natural values they contain, and although they all have some representation in protected areas, there is great variation in the extent of each reserved.

The bioregion with the highest proportion reserved is the Australian Alps Bioregion, with almost 90 per cent protected. The reason for this high proportion is the prevalence of the alpine environs of Kosciuszko National Park, which dominate this bioregion. This provides a major contrast to bioregions such as the Riverina and Darling Riverine Plains Bioregions, where less than 1 per cent of each lie within protected areas.

NSW bioregions, and the proportion of each in NSW
IBRA bioregionAustralian states and territoriesTotal NSW area (hectares)Percentage of bioregion in NSW
Australian Alps NSW, ACT, VIC
428,760
54.07
Brigalow Belt South NSW, QLD
5,338,619
19.83
Broken Hill Complex NSW, SA
3,819,374
66.97
Channel Country NSW, QLD, SA
1,428,032
5.01
Cobar Peneplain NSW
7,350,084
100.00
Darling Riverine Plains NSW, QLD
9,398,531
88.23
Mulga Lands NSW, QLD
6,553,109
25.90
Murray Darling Depression NSW, SA, VIC
8,046,458
40.74
Nandewar NSW, QLD
2,070,128
76.71
New England Tableland NSW, QLD
2,861,145
95.24
North Coast NSW, QLD
5,694,360
96.11
South Western Slopes NSW, VIC
8,087,580
93.24
Riverina NSW, VIC
7,102,727
74.07
Simpson-Strzelecki Dunefields NSW, QLD, SA
2,116,501
7.19
South East Corner NSW, VIC
1,300,742
48.15
South Eastern Highlands NSW, ACT, VIC
4,894,488
55.98
Sydney Basin NSW
3,632,890
100.00

Based on figures from IBRA Version 5.1 adapted from Thackway and Cresswell 1995, Environment Australia 2000.

Subregions

A description of the subregions of each bioregion is presented in a table in each bioregional overview. These descriptions are based on the work of Morgan and Terrey (1992) and Morgan (2001). The subregions are a major natural land-use planning unit that can assist in conservation planning at a regional scale.

Page last updated: 18 April 2016