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Biodiversity Investment Opportunities Map: Questions and answers

What is a BIO Map?

The Biodiversity Investment Opportunities Map (BIO Map) identifies priority areas for investment in biodiversity outcomes. These are areas where funding for biodiversity management can make the greatest difference for biodiversity.

BIO Map has been developed as a pilot in two subregions in the Sydney Basin by working with stakeholders in the Cumberland subregion (western Sydney) and the Illawarra. It was developed by OEH as part of the NSW Government's Green Corridors Program, a Government priority action under Goal 22 of the NSW 2021: A plan to make NSW number one (PDF 843KB), and was funded by the NSW Environmental Trust.

Why do we need a BIO Map?

Government regularly has funding available for biodiversity management. The Government is committed to ensuring that funds are spent in an effective and accountable way. Identifying priority areas for biodiversity investment is one way of ensuring that limited funds are targeted to the strategic areas of greatest benefit.

What is included in the BIO Map?

The BIO Map identifies priority investment areas comprising of core areas of bushland and biodiversity corridors that are important at a state and regional level. Large and connected bushland remnants give the greatest chance for survival of our unique wildlife. The core areas and corridors support local bushland management efforts. They were identified using an objective mapping criteria developed specifically for the BIO Map project, in consultation with councils and community groups.

How is BIO Map used?

The BIO Map can be used in two ways. Firstly, to inform conservation funding bodies of preferred sites to invest funds. Secondly, it provides useful information for land owners and land managers on the areas that have an increased potential of receiving biodiversity management funds.

What does it mean if my property is included in the BIO Map?

The BIO Map provides increased opportunities to landowners who are interested in managing bushland. The BIO Map identifies areas where landowners have more opportunities to be funded through conservation funding programs.

Will this stop me from developing my land?

Inclusion of land within the BIO Map does not alter a landholder's right to carry out agricultural and developmental activities. Land identified in the BIO Map may have environmental values that need to be considered as part of existing statutory planning and development approval processes and that would require an appropriately scaled level of environmental assessment, as specified by the relevant planning or consent authority. The identification of land as a priority investment area does not alter these existing requirements in any way.

If your property is within a priority investment area then you have increased opportunities to access a range of conservation funding programs. Participation in these programs is entirely voluntary.

What does it mean for areas of bushland and parkland that are not included in the BIO Map but are important for the community?

All native vegetation in NSW is important. Just because a patch of vegetation may fall outside the BIO Map doesn't mean it isn't important. Management of native vegetation wherever it occurs contributes to efforts to conserve biodiversity. The BIO Map simply focuses on identifying areas where investment is expected to yield the greatest conservation benefits. Other areas can still be funded by the Government depending on the criteria for the program.

How can my local council use this map?

Your council can use BIO Map to obtain funding to manage bushland on its own reserves or for its work with private landowners. The BIO Map can also assist councils and the community to draw a link between local actions and wider efforts to conserve biodiversity.

What is the background to the BIO Map?

The BIO Map draws on the conceptual framework developed for previous state-wide mapping of priority investment areas for native vegetation management (see Native Vegetation Benefits Mapping). This state-wide mapping is at a broad scale suitable for regional planning. The BIO Map extends the principles of this mapping to a finer scale, incorporating related local and regional scale information where suitable and available. The approach is being piloted for the Cumberland Plain and Illawarra subregions.

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Does the BIO Map identify all areas of state and regional investment priority for biodiversity?

BIO Map does not identify all state and regional priority investment areas. For instance, the Saving Our Species program provides additional priorities. Government programs which aim to achieve the greatest benefit for vegetation management are best prioritised through the use of BIO Map.

How does the BIO Map relate to priorities identified by the Local Land Services?

Local Land Services identifies regional and local priorities in its Catchment Action Plans to guide its expenditure of funds. In some circumstances, the locations identified in a Catchment Action Plan may differ from those identified in BIO Map because of differences in mapping approaches and objectives.

Depending on the purpose of the funding stream, Local Land Services are encouraged to consider the BIO Map when allocating its funds. This may include initial prioritising of fund allocation to areas where BIO Map overlaps with the Catchment Action Plan priorities, before considering investment in other areas.

However, Local Land Services may have different purposes for funding than those identified by BIO Map, or it may be able to achieve positive biodiversity outcomes outside the mapped priority investment areas.

How does the BIO Map relate to the NSW planning scheme?

The BIO Map is for use in guiding investment decisions through grant and incentive programs. BIO Map was not developed to inform land-use planning or development applications, and it is not intended to be used for land-use planning purposes. A finer scale of assessment than that provided by BIO Map is required to support statutory planning processes and decisions.

What features does BIO Map contain?

The BIO Map identifies priority investment areas comprising of:

  • Core areas - areas of native vegetation and habitat where management will be of greatest benefit to the conservation of state and regional biodiversity values within a region.
  • State biodiversity corridors - key linkages of native vegetation that are identified through state-wide analysis and provide connectivity between IBRA regions and subregions.
  • Regional biodiversity corridors - key linkages of native vegetation within an IBRA subregion, between IBRA subregions or between significant biodiversity features.

How can I get more information on BIO Map?

You can find out more about the BIO Map project by emailing the Office of Environment and Heritage on info@environment.nsw.gov.au or by calling (02) 9995 5000.

Page last updated: 21 July 2015