Biodiversity conservation strategies

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board supports programs that implement four main strategies to conserve biodiversity.

1. Maintain intact (viable) landscapes - the intent of this strategy is to protect and improve the ecological integrity and long-term viability of the more intact (core) landscapes of the region. Within these areas, priority actions would be to: repair historic impacts, remove threats and reinstate ecological processes.

2. Reverse declines - this strategy aims to reinstate ecosystems that have been differentially lost in locations where this will meaningfully contribute to stemming species declines and reinstating critical ecological processes (such as pollination). Within these areas, the priority actions are to reinstate open woodland systems and improve the habitat value of shrubby systems.

3. Recover threatened species and ecological communities - the intent of this strategy is to ensure the long-term persistence of species and ecosystems at immediate risk of extinction in the wild. The actions required to implement this work are specific to individual species and ecosystems, but typically focus on increasing distribution and abundance and halting (or ideally reversing) declining trends. The nature of this work is guided by the current amount of knowledge.

4. Control emerging threats - This strategy aims to address threats to biodiversity before their impacts are fully realised. A couple of the more pervasive threats to the region include climate change and new invasive species.

Strategies for adapting to climate change include:

  • Passive adaptation to improve the resilience of natural systems, allowing them to adapt to change. Relevant activities include:
    • maintaining functional areas
    • ensuring representativeness of environments and associated processes
    • removing and minimising existing stressors.
  • Active adaptation to manipulate ecological processes to partially direct the nature of adaptation. Relevant activities include:
    • restoring habitats and system dynamics
    • identifying and protecting climate refugia
    • managing/restoring connectivity
    • increasing matrix permeability and functional connectivity.
  • Transformation to fundamentally alter ecological processes in an attempt to pre-empt change where irreversible impacts are expected to occur. Relevant activities include:
    • keystone structuring of changed systems (eco-engineering and transformation)
    • species translocations
    • ex situ conservation (genetic preservation).

At the landscape scale, all three strategies apply to different parts of the region.

Another emerging threat is the arrival, spread and impact of new invasive species. This threat is tackled by ensuring the early detection of such invasions, an assessment of the risk posed, and a rapid response. The board supports programs to implement these strategies.