Introduction to Biodiversity
The topics in this theme describe how the native species and ecosystems of NSW are faring presently and the effects of introduced species.
Ensuring the long-term survival of the species and ecosystems of NSW means they will persist for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. Many native species are considered to be threatened in NSW and the Threatened Species topic discusses current patterns in their status and trends. The broad patterns of survival and trends in animal populations are considered in Native Fauna.
The main threats to the survival of species are habitat destruction through the clearing of native vegetation and competition and predation by invasive species, with climate change an emerging and serious threat into the future. The impacts of invasive species on the survival of native species and ecosystems are discussed in the Invasive Species topic.
In this report:
- The number of species considered at risk of extinction continues to rise with 1,043 NSW species listed as threatened, 18 more than reported three years ago. A further 116 ecological communities are also listed as threatened.
- The conservation status of 64% of land-based NSW vertebrates is presently not considered to be threatened.
- Freshwater fish communities are in very poor condition across the state and are declining.
- Invasive species are widespread across the state’s land and aquatic environments and regarded as a major threat.
From the beginning, Aboriginal people and cultures have cared for Country in a holistic way that ensures all animals and plants are able to thrive. Aboriginal cultural values and use of totems and kinship relationships with a range of species and special and sacred places impose obligations that protect these species and places.
Aboriginal people have seen many changes to the biodiversity of NSW and have for many years asked to be a part of decision-making. Biodiversity is central to Aboriginal people’s cultures. Involvement would be a great opportunity to bring together Aboriginal knowledge and cultures with western science to promote better outcomes for the biodiversity of NSW.