Photo: Peter Watton
Biodiversity defines the variety of all forms of life on earth - plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems of which they are a part of. The biodiversity across the Mount Lofty region, of which Adelaide Hills Council is a part, is still considered to be reasonably high and is formally recognized as one of 15 Commonwealth biodiversity hotspots.
Since European settlement, more than 450 native fauna species have been recorded from the Mount Lofty Ranges (MLR) region, including over 75% of the bird species recorded within South Australia, and also approximately 1,500 native vascular plant species (DEH, 2009).
However, the region has changed significantly. Vegetation clearance has been extensive – approximately only 10% of the original native vegetation of the MLR region remains, and is now highly fragmented with only 22% of this formally managed for conservation purposes (DEH, 2009). Remnant vegetation exists mostly as isolated patches of varying sizes (the majority within 6 to 31ha) and condition adjacent urban, industrial and agricultural land uses. This fragmentation reflects selective clearance of native vegetation on topographically accessible or agriculturally productive land, and so remnant native vegetation is generally on steep areas with shallow infertile soils such as heathy open forest or woodland, leaving grasslands, grassy woodlands and wetlands (once more common) underrepresented in the region.
Despite the largescale clearance and degradation of native vegetation and the many ongoing threats that have ensued since European settlement, the region continues to provide habitat to a large variety of native flora and fauna species, many of which are now threatened and / or in decline and many which are also endemic to the area.
Adelaide Hills Council Biodiversity Strategy
In November 2013, we adopted a Biodiversity Strategy to guide how we manage land under our care and control, in order to achieve regional biodiversity outcomes. The Strategy outlines a number of short, medium, and long term objectives, strategies and actions. Read more about Council's Biodiversity Strategy.
Adelaide Hills Council Biodiversity Advisory Group (BioAG)
Following development of the Biodiversity Strategy, it was recognised that an advisory group would be the most efficient and effective way to achieve a number of objectives, strategies and actions.
The focus of the advisory group is to provide advice and direction to the Council for the district as a whole. In addition, the BioAG provide our staff with access to external expertise, networks and links to other organisations, community groups and the wider community with regard to biodiversity issues. The group consists of three Council members, two staff members, three partnering conservation organisation representatives, and three community members who bring relevant skills, knowledge or experience to the Group. The Terms of Reference require the BioAG to meet quarterly or more frequently as required.