Nature conservation

Biodiversity Reform

How to use the bioregion overviews

Each bioregion overview describes one of the 17 NSW bioregions, with maps and references relating to that bioregion. Each bioregion overview is divided into the following pages:


The location information is on the 'home page' of each bioregional overview. It describes the geographical position and area of the bioregion in NSW with reference to:

  • major towns and roads
  • major rivers and catchments
  • shared boundaries with neighbouring states.



Details of the climate of each bioregion have been sourced from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The short description of the broad climatic characteristics of each bioregion is based on the Objective Classification of Australian Climates (Stern et al. 2000).

Also provided are figures for the climate variables as shown the table below:

Bioregions - climate variable information 
Type of variable Units
Mean annual temperature degrees centigrade
Minimum average monthly temperature degrees centigrade
Maximum average monthly temperature degrees centigrade
Mean annual rainfall millimetres
Minimum average monthly rainfall millimetres
Maximum average monthly rainfall millimetres


The landform page of each bioregion overview is divided into the following sections:


The topography section describes the characteristic landscape features, or shape of the landscape of the bioregion.

Geology and geomorphology

The geology and geomorphology section describes the dominant underlying geology or rock types for each bioregion as well as the major geomorphic events leading to the development of the landscape we see today.

Because geomorphic events are generally at a larger scale than the bioregional level, it is important to get a sense of the geomorphic landscape of each bioregion in a state-wide or even continental context. For this reason, we have provided an outline of the major events which led to the formation of the major landscape features of NSW in the 'brief overview of NSW' section of this report.


The geodiversity section gives a brief overview of the main features of geological and/or geomorphic interest in each bioregion.


The soils section describes the main soil types found in the bioregion, the geology from which they are derived and that part of the landscape in which they are usually found.


The biodiversity page of each bioregion overview is divided into the following subheadings:

Plant communities

This section describes the major plant communities found in the bioregion.

Significant flora

This section describes significant flora, particularly those listed in the schedules of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (TSC Act) and the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), including endangered ecological communities and endangered and vulnerable populations and species.

Significant fauna

This section describes significant fauna found in the bioregion, in particular species or populations listed in the schedules of the TSC Act (1995) and EPBC Act (1999).

Significant wetlands

Wetlands are better defined by catchment boundaries than by bioregional boundaries. None the less, information on the wetlands of each bioregion has been included for those interested in planning or working at the bioregional scale. New information gathered as part of the Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment (2002) is included in this section.

Invertebrates have not been extensively surveyed across NSW or generally across Australia and therefore little is known about them in comparison to the number of invertebrate species predicted to occur. There is invertebrate information available for some bioregions, however it has not been included here as surveys had not been completed at the time of writing.

Regional history

The regional history page describes the interaction between humans and the bioregional landscape as well as the cultural significance of the bioregional landscapes and the influence humans have had on bioregional biodiversity.

The regional history section of each bioregion overview is divided into two parts:

Aboriginal occupation

This section includes the main Aboriginal language groups that occupy the bioregion or have historically lived in that bioregion. There is much overlap between areas inhabited or visited by the different language groups in the Western Division, and for this reason we have provided a summary of the Aboriginal occupation of the Western Division in the 'brief overview of NSW' section of this report.

Under the heading 'Aboriginal occupation' in the overviews of bioregions located in western NSW, the reader will be given a link to this summary, to read about the Aboriginal heritage of that bioregion.

European occupation

This section provides a brief account of early exploration and European settlement, major historic events and development of the main towns in a particular bioregion and their socio-economic basis. We have provided an account of European heritage in the Western Division bioregions in the 'brief overview of NSW' section of this report. In the overviews of western NSW bioregions, the reader will be given a link to this summary, to read about the European history of that bioregion.

Bioregional-scale conservation

The goals of the NSW national parks and nature reserve system are to protect comprehensive, adequate and representative samples of all natural landscapes in the system. That is, they aim to protect the full variety of ecosystems with sufficient size and condition to remain viable for hundreds of years. However, to achieve truly adequate protection of ecosystems so that they sustain natural processes well into the distant future, there is a need to focus on complementary conservation of landscapes outside the national parks and nature reserve system.

A range of conservation mechanisms are available to achieve conservation in NSW and are outlined in Appendix 2. The role of these mechanisms in the conservation of landscapes has been reviewed to provide a simple (but until now never undertaken) comparison of conservation and conservation-oriented land management mechanisms in and across bioregions. A review of the conservation mechanisms available in each bioregion is documented in this section of every bioregional overview.

It should be noted that only mechanisms with a state-wide legislative basis were surveyed. Of the range of legislatively based conservation mechanisms, only those with statewide data available at the time of writing were analysed. It should also be noted that a new category of reserve that has been recognised in legislation, the State Conservation Area, was not analysed as none had been gazetted at the time of analysis.


Although the aim of this document is to provide a general overview of the bioregions of NSW, we have included a description, based on the work of Morgan and Terrey (1992) and Morgan (2001), of the finer-scale subregions that make up each bioregion.


There are six maps provided for each bioregional overview. These are:

  • Location map showing the main towns and roads
  • Topographic map
  • Rivers map showing other main water bodies and Catchment Management Board Areas
  • Vegetation map showing areas with vegetation cover and areas cleared in the bioregion
  • Protected Areas map showing areas managed under different conservation mechanisms such as National Parks and Nature Reserves
  • Map of subregions and landscapes of each bioregion.


Page last updated: 18 April 2016