Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2020
Prepared by the National Biodiversity Strategy Review Task Group
Convened under the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council
Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy is a new approach to addressing biodiversity conservation in a rapidly changing world. The strategy is a call to action. It sets a national direction for biodiversity conservation over the next decade and it asks all Australians to contribute.
Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is the variety of all life forms on earth: it is the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, their genes, and the terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems of which they are a part. Biodiversity is essential for our existence and is intrinsically valuable in its own right Biodiversity contributes to the healthy environments, clean air and water that support human life.
The strategy reflects the intention of all Australian governments to ensure our biodiversity is healthy, resilient to climate change and valued for its essential contribution to our existence. All governments recognise the urgency of this task. Despite efforts to manage threats, put in place conservation programs and integrate biodiversity considerations into other natural resource management processes, biodiversity in Australia is still in decline.
Planning a long-term vision to reverse this decline must begin with immediate action. The strategy outlines the activities that must begin straight away and those that are needed to effect longer-term change with a minimum 10-year outlook.
All actions sit within a list of six ‘priorities for change'. These priorities-building ecosystem resilience, mainstreaming biodiversity, knowledge for all, getting results, involving Indigenous peoples and measuring success-reflect the essential changes that we must make urgently to achieve the strategy's vision.
The main threats to our biodiversity are:
- climate change (resulting in conditions such as prolonged drought)
- invasive species
- loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat
- unsustainable use of natural resources
- changes to the aquatic environment and water flows
- inappropriate fire regimes.
These threats and the resulting damage they cause to the environment need to be tackled head on by the priorities for change. The strategy makes it clear that all Australians-the community, governments, Indigenous peoples and businesses-must play an active role in protecting biodiversity.
Each priority for change is linked to objectives, actions and results which will guide the development of biodiversity conservation approaches for national, state, territory and local governments, and for businesses, non-government organisations and community groups. The listed results are the expected ‘onground' consequences of successful implementation of the actions.
The longer-term impacts of the strategy on conserving Australia's biodiversity will ultimately determine its effectiveness. Implementation of the strategy will include the development of a long-term monitoring and evaluation framework and the incorporation of relevant monitoring actions from the strategy into existing well-established systems.
The Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council will monitor the strategy's implementation on a yearly basis and formally review it every five years. Information on trends and condition of Australia's biodiversity will be used to track the performance of the strategy and inform these yearly and five-yearly reviews. The strategy can then be adjusted on the basis of this information.
Since the original National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity (DEST 1996) was adopted, a number of specific national strategies have been developed. These include the National Framework for the Management and Monitoring of Australia's Vegetation (NRMMC 1999), the Australian Weeds Strategy (NRMMC 2007a) and the Australian Pest Animal Strategy (NRMMC 2007b). They will be implemented under the broad framework of this strategy.