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Biodiversity in the Hills

Biodiversity defines the variety of all forms of life — plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems of which they are a part of. The Hills boasts a rich biodiversity but one that is also at great risk due to a variety of recognised threats.

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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 recognised as one of 15 Commonwealth biodiversity hotspots.

Since European settlement, more than 450 native fauna species have been recorded from the Mount Lofty Ranges region, including more than 75% of the bird species recorded within South Australia, and also approximately 1,500 native vascular plant species.

However, the region has changed significantly. Vegetation clearance has been extensive — approximately only 10% of the original native vegetation of the Mount Lofty Ranges region remains, and is now highly fragmented with only 22% of this formally managed for conservation purposes.

Remnant vegetation exists mostly as isolated patches of varying sizes (the majority within 6–31ha) 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 large scale 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 2018–19 Council reviewed its Biodiversity Strategy to guide how we manage land under our care and control in order to achieve regional biodiversity outcomes. The 2019 Strategy outlines a number of short, medium, and long term objectives, strategies, and actions.

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