Bioregional and subregional framework

Australian bioregions were mapped by the Federal government with cooperation of state and territory governments and produced the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia.

The Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) divides Australia into bioregions on the basis of their dominant landscape-scale attributes. IBRA was developed as a framework primarily to identify deficiencies in the Australian network of protected areas and to set priorities for further enhancing the reserve system.

The word 'interim' is retained in the IBRA title because the bioregions are periodically updated as new or more reliable information comes to hand from a range of biological and environmental surveys  designed to refine bioregional boundaries.

Some numbers

  • 130 biogeographic regions identified which were rationalised into 80 biogeographic regions, which were then further refined into the 89 bioregions recognised in Australia today
  • 18 bioregions are found in NSW:
    • 2 are wholly within the NSW boundary
    • 16 are shared with bordering States and Territories – Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Jervis Bay Territory.

Bioregions have been further divided into subregions or provinces. Subregions are based on finer differences in biophysical attributes including geology and vegetation and because they provide more detailed information about the landscape they can be used for finer scale planning.

Bioregions and subregions vary in size, with larger regions, mainly those in arid or semi-arid climates, reflecting less diverse terrain.

Decisions about biodiversity

To make decisions about biodiversity we need to understand where species occur, the habitats they occur in and the ecological processes that drive those habitats and larger groupings of communities. Bioregional assessments have occurred only recently in NSW. Information on biodiversity is gathered at varying levels of detail as part of bioregional or statewide assessments.

Describing and reporting on the condition of biodiversity in the NSW bioregions is needed for detailed land, species and ecosystem management decisions.

Refer to Bioregions of New South Wales for more detailed information on biodiversity for each bioregion.