A Biodiversity Indicator Program for NSW

It is important to assess the status of biodiversity in New South Wales accurately, now and into the future.

The NSW Government has introduced new legislation for biodiversity conservation and native vegetation management, including the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (the Act). One of the main goals of the Act is to conserve biodiversity.

Assessment of status and trends allows us to understand how well current biodiversity management and conservation measures are working.

The Department of Planning and Environment (the Department) has established the Biodiversity Indicator Program to assess the status of biodiversity in New South Wales at the beginning of the Act – the first assessment – then at recommended intervals, including contributing to the 5-year review of the Act.

Measuring our amazing biodiversity

New South Wales is home to an amazing variety of plants, animals and ecosystems, on land and in the water. Collectively, this variety is known as biodiversity and includes species (plants, animals, fungi, lichen, invertebrates and microorganisms), the genes they carry, and the ecosystems which they are part of. Many species remain poorly known or have not yet been scientifically described and named.

To measure our amazing biodiversity, we need to assess all the different parts of biodiversity (genes, species and ecosystems) across scales, as well as the integrity of their supporting habitats.

Developing biodiversity indicators

Recording the status of all plant and animal species across New South Wales is a very large, complex task, especially when many species remain unknown. To simplify the task, we have developed a suite of indicators to measure different aspects of biodiversity and ecological integrity (the capacity of ecosystems to retain biodiversity and adapt to change). This work was a partnership between the Department staff and CSIRO, the Australian Museum and Macquarie University. 

The method used to develop the indicators has been peer-reviewed and is available in a technical report (Measuring biodiversity and ecological integrity in NSW: Method for the Biodiversity Indicator Program) along with a plain-English summary (Measuring biodiversity and ecological integrity in NSW: Method summary).

Results from the first assessment

Results of the first assessment of the status of NSW biodiversity and ecological integrity are available in the NSW Biodiversity Outlook Report, Results from the Biodiversity Indicator Program: First assessment.

In addition to the Outlook Report, implementation reports provide specific detail of how indicators have been assessed. Each implementation report is supported by a data package available from the NSW Government's Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED) Portal

Products of the Biodiversity Indicator Program

Tree diagram showing relationship between the Biodiversity Outlook Report, Method and implementation reports 

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