Blue Mountains City Council

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity or Biological diversity is simply the variety of life - all life in all forms.

Biodiversity includes all plants, animals and microorganisms, their genetic material, the variety of species, and the ecosystems of which they are part. It is this variation that allows plants and animals and human beings to adapt to the different climates, soils, waters and other physical aspects of our world.

Biodiversity enables ecosystems, landscapes and human settlements to function successfully, providing essential services like air to breathe, soil fertility and structure as well as plant pollination.

Australia's Biodiversity

Australia's biodiversity is particularly unique due to its isolation from other continents. This isolation over such a long period of time has allowed our flora and fauna to adapt to the climate and soil conditions found here.

Did you know the following are found only in Australia?

  • 92% of our mamals
  • 70% of our birds
  • 85% of our flowering plants
  • 89% of our reptiles and
  • 93% of our frogs

Biodiversity and its processes are critical to all life.

What can we do to protect it?

"We don't inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children." (Kenyan proverb)

Human activity has played a major role in the decline of biodiversity. Land clearing, introduction of pest species and pollution of land and waters are just some of the factors that have contributed to the loss of biodiversity.

Our lifestyle choices significantly impact the web of life. Individuals and households play an important role in preserving a diversity of life for generations to come.

Here are just some of the things we can do to help protect biodiversity and build a sustainable future for our children:

  • Plant local natives - native plants provide food sources and shelter for local wildlife, are adapted to local rainfall levels, and are less susceptible to pests and diseases. If you have recently built a home, ask Council for a native plant voucher.
  • Help control weeds - environmental weeds are often spread by birds or from garden waste dumped into natural environments, causing infestations and destroying important native habitat and degrading waterways. You can help by removing weeds from your own backyard to stop them spreading into the bush.
  • Join a Bushcare or Landcare Group - joining a group to help restore bushland, swamps or creeks is a great way to not only help look after biodiversity, but also a great way to meet new friends.
  • Create wildlife habitat - you could build a frog pond or place nest boxes for birds and possums on your trees. Leave rocks and logs in your garden for lizards and other wildlife and remember never to remove rocks or logs from the native bushland as you might be removing an animal's home.
  • Avoid feeding wildlife - feeding native birds and animals upsets the natural balance. In addition, our food is not nutritionally good for them.
  • Use compost, mulch, and worms - grass-clippings, leaves and food wastes can all be broken down in your garden. This will provide nutrients and protection for your plants and reduce the amount of pesticides and fertilisers you need to use.
  • Take responsibility for family pets - to help protect our local wildlife, preserve biodiversity, and to avoid polluting our footpaths and waterways we need to take responsibility for our pets. For example, make sure your cat wears three bells; that you always pick up after your dog, and that your animals are microchipped, registered, desexed, wormed regularly, and kept in at night.
  • Avoid pesticides and chemicals in your garden - birds, frogs and reptiles can become sick or die if they feed on insects sprayed with some pesticides. Look for natural alternatives such as planting insect deterring plants or companion planting.
  • Leave snakes and spiders alone - they belong in our environment.
  • Consider your purchases carefully - buy products that can be reused or recycled and have minimal packaging. Also consider where the materials came from to make the products you purchase - were they mined, is the timber from a rainforest or plantation?
  • By making simple changes to our lifestyle we can continue to enjoy the biodivesity in our area and in turn will have clean air, fertile soils and unpolluted creek to pass on to our children.

To see what threatened species occur in your township, 'Threatened species of the Blue Mountains", and to learn about threatened species recovery in NSW "Saving our threatened native animals and plants", may be downloaded at right.

Contact Sustainable Education on (02) 4780 5788 for more information about Biodiversity in the Blue Mountains.