Vision: Diverse, connected landscapes valued by the community

Bioregional conservation status of remnant native vegetation

The Biodiversity theme considers native vegetation and habitats including threatened species, with a focus on terrestrial species and environments. Water-dependent species and habitats are addressed under the Water theme.

Biodiversity is the variety of lifeforms, including plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms. It is the genetic diversity within species, between species and ecosystems.

Biodiversity underpins a healthy natural environment. It is fundamental to our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing. Native plants and animals also have intrinsic value, a right to exist. For the region’s Traditional Owners certain species have cultural or spiritual value, and biodiversity is important for Country to be healthy.

The north central region’s natural environment includes many natural wonders that are treasured by local and visitors alike. From the forests of the Great Dividing Range in the south, through the Box-Ironbark Forests and Woodlands, the Riverine Grasslands, to the River Red Gum Forests along the Murray River corridor in the north. Through engagement for RCS renewal, we heard from community members who are passionate about their local area and are working to protect, enhance and monitor its biodiversity. There are also many nature-based tourism attractions in the region that are important for the regional economy and indirectly support conservation efforts.  

However, the region has been extensively cleared for agriculture, particularly on the flatter more fertile plains, where there is less than 30 per cent native vegetation cover. Remnant native vegetation is subject to ongoing loss and degradation, particularly where it is already fragmented. Our changing climate is putting increased pressure on the region’s natural environment. Significant changes in species distribution are predicted with local extinctions likely. Protecting what we have, building ecosystem resilience and connectivity, will be priorities for the next six years and beyond.

The RCS Biodiversity Discussion Paper was drafted to frame conversations with stakeholders, obtain feedback and inform the development of this webpage. It includes more detail and references.