Biodiversity Stewardship

Koala resting on a branch looking directly at the camera
Koala sitting in branch of tree looking at camera

Campbelltown is fortunate to have an exceptionally diverse range of native wildlife, plants and ecological communities.

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth.

‘Biodiversity’ comes from two words: ‘biological’, which means relating to biology or living organisms, and ‘diversity’, meaning a range of different things or variety.

Biodiversity is variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels. Biodiversity is the variety of all living things: the different plants, animals and microorganisms, the different genetic information they contain, and the varied ecosystems they form.

Why is biodiversity important?

All species, including humans, rely on many other species to live. We need varieties of healthy and well-functioning ecosystems to support the life of all species, including humans.

So why do we need to conserve most or every species?

We know so little about the interconnectedness and relationships between different species that it is impossible to be sure if there are any redundancies in our natural systems; in other words, we don’t know if we can afford to lose a species without any adverse impact on its ecosystem.

Think of it like a pyramid of oranges, all balancing on each other. Could you pick one orange to remove from the pile and know with confidence that no other oranges would fall?

Biodiversity is considered by many to have intrinsic value: each species has a value and a right to exist, whether or not it is known to have value to humans.

Biodiversity is also important for people and the survival of humanity

The CSIRO describes five core values that humans place on biodiversity:

  1. Economic — biodiversity provides humans with raw materials for consumption and production. Many livelihoods, such as those of farmers, fishers and timber workers, are dependent on biodiversity.
  2. Ecological life support — biodiversity provides functioning ecosystems that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control, wastewater treatment and many ecosystem services.
  3. Recreational — many recreational pursuits rely on our unique biodiversity, such as birdwatching, hiking, camping and fishing. Our tourism industry also depends on biodiversity.
  4. Cultural — the Australian culture is closely connected to biodiversity through the expression of identity, through spirituality and through aesthetic appreciation. Indigenous Australians have strong connections and obligations to biodiversity arising from spiritual beliefs about animals and plants.
  5. Scientific — biodiversity represents a wealth of systematic ecological data that help us to understand the natural world and its origins.

What are the benefits?

Benefits to societies from biodiversity include material welfare, security of communities, resilience of local economies and human health. The benefits of biodiversity to humans are sometimes called ‘ecosystem services.’

Ecosystem services are defined as:

  • provisioning services—the production of food, fibre, water and medicines
  • regulating services—the control of climate and diseases
  • supporting services—nutrient cycling and crop pollination
  • cultural services—such as spiritual and recreational benefits.

Any loss or deterioration in the condition of biodiversity can compromise all these values and affect human wellbeing

To find out more about biodiversity and why it’s important, see the CSIRO’s Biodiversity Book, which includes some great videos.

Biodiversity Stewardship - a commitment to biodiversity

Biodiversity Stewardship is an agreement that provides for the permanent protection and management of biodiversity and allows for the creation of biodiversity credits.

  • A Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement doesn’t have to cover all of your land – you can set aside a portion as an agreement site to be protected and continue other activities on the remainder.
  • You can even undertake some activities on a stewardship site, such as - strategic grazing or an ecotourism venture - provided the activity doesn’t have negative impacts on the biodiversity values of the land.
  • When it comes to managing your agreement site, you can choose to undertake the biodiversity management activities yourself, or use contracted bush regenerators.
  • Either way, annual payments should cover your costs.
  • The Biodiversity Offset Scheme helps you to diversify the income generated from your land.

Noorumba Reserve - our showcase site

This is an important bushland reserve on the edge of suburbia in Rosemeadow located in Campbelltown's south. It protects a range of endangered habitats and wildlife. The name Noorumba means 'hunting ground' in Dharawal.

Noorumba Reserve covers an area of approximately 60 hectares containing remnant Cumberland Plain Woodland communities containing 39 plant species off regional significance. The bushland in the reserve is also considered to be regionally significant as it comprises one of the largest areas of Cumberland Plain Woodland in public ownership in southwestern Sydney.

The reserve includes part of the upper reaches of Menangle Creek within the Upper Nepean River catchment, and is part of a wildlife corridor between the Georges River Regional Open Space land to the east and the Nepean River corridor to the West.

Project Overview

  • Campbelltown City Council has secured Noorumba Reserve in Rosemeadow as a conservation stewardship site in perpetuity as part of a ‘Biobanking agreement’ which are now called Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements which form part of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and are managed by the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT)
  • The conservation agreement covers 40.23ha of the reserve and excludes land that may be required in the future for Appin Road widening and the proposed Spring Farm Parkway as well as the cleared land to the western edge of the reserve
  • The conservation of the site protects critically endangered vegetation communities Cumberland Plain Woodland and Shale Sandstone Transition Forest under state and federal legislation as well as species such as the endangered Cumberland Plain Land Snail and vulnerable Koala which are also listed under state legislation
  • Council has recently appointed a contractor to undertake works for the coming 6 years with the site will be managed in perpetuity with funding provided for annual management actions provided in the first instance for 20 years
  • The on ground works include fencing, installation of gates and signage and environmental improvements including weed management, seed collection, revegetation, erosion control, rubbish removal and feral animal control if required
  • Council has sold enough credits to fund the Total Fund Deposit (TFD) or Part A costs requiring commencement of management activities and has generated funds for the Campbelltown Biodiversity Fund with further credits still to be sold to contribute to the fund.

NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT)

The NSW BCT aims to assist landholders to conserve biodiversity on private land.

Want to know more? visit the Biodiversity Conservation Trust.