Vision: Biodiversity is valued, resilient and flourishing.

Image of a Rainbow bee-eater, a brilliantly coloured bird that is found in forested areas in most of southern Australia during summer.

Biodiversity is a modern term to describe all life forms including different plants, animals, micro and macroorganisms, their genetic diversity and the ecosystems where they connect. Biodiversity captures the living elements of natural systems, but there are also many non-living habitat elements, such as topography, weather, climate, fire, flood, fallen logs, rocks and leaf litter. Native vegetation, soil biology, nutrient and carbon cycles and fungi keep the natural system functioning so the diversity of life can evolve.

Traditional Owners have intrinsically managed the land for the survival of all living things for tens of thousands of years. More recently, land managers, community groups and organisations have also played an important stewardship role in protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

Community aspirations identified throughout this strategy rely on natural systems thriving. However, much of what we do impacts the natural systems, including historic and current land clearing, land use, pest plants and animals and a lack of understanding of Traditional Owners’ traditional ecological knowledge. These impacts will be compounded as climate change increasingly affects weather patterns.

The transformation of the Victorian landscape through changes in land use has pushed many native species and ecological communities beyond critical tipping points such that their resilience is reduced and populations continue to decline. At the same time, the community (residents and visitors) increasingly value and use nature for amenity and recreation.

While individuals, community groups and organisations across the catchment have made significant contributions to the protection and enhancement of the catchment’s biodiversity, the condition for biodiversity has been rated poor since 2009. The long-term risk of further decline remains very high. At the scale that revegetation and natural regeneration occurs across the catchment, the current rate of change is not sufficient to ensure functioning systems where all species can thrive. Large-scale, urgent action is required on public and private land to reverse the historic impacts and improve biodiversity resilience.

While recognising the complexity of natural systems, and because biodiversity contains so many elements, we need to narrow our focus to a few key principles that are fundamental to the entire ecosystem. The biodiversity theme of this strategy focuses on terrestrial native vegetation. Riparian, aquatic and wetland biodiversity are covered in the water theme, and soil biodiversity is covered in the land theme. Furthermore, actions to increase community engagement in NRM, including biodiversity, are included in the community theme. All these themes are connected through natural systems and management.

Native vegetation, along with other elements, provides key habitat for much of the wildlife above and below the ground. Improving native vegetation and its connection to the other habitat elements is critical to saving endangered and threatened species. Native vegetation is critical to the resilience of the catchment’s biodiversity.

The 4 key principles to understand and manage native vegetation for biodiversity health are:

  1. increase native vegetation extent
  2. increase habitat quality in native ecological communities on public and private land
  3. improve landscape context or pattern of native vegetation
  4. prioritise habitat management for threatened species, ecological communities and increased system function.

These principles form the basis of the biodiversity theme.

A snapshot of the biodiversity theme of the strategy is provided in Figure 31, click on the tabs below for further detail.

A diagram summarising the biodiversity theme content of the strategy, with four main sections: current situation in 2021, critical attributes, medium-term outcomes and what success looks like in 2040. The content of the diagram is described in the information below the diagram.
Figure 31: Summary of the biodiversity theme of the Goulburn Broken Regional Catchment Strategy

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