Biodiversity is the variety of all life forms on earth – the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, and the ecosystems of which they are all a part. It is a vital life support system that generates multiple critical ecosystem services, such as clean air, water and food, crop pollination, and spiritual and recreational values for people.
Within the Northern Agricultural Region (NAR), high levels of biodiversity contribute to the long-term health of local communities, including especially the agricultural sector, through the provision of these essential ecosystems services. It is also valuable for health and wellbeing, and contributes to tourism and the aesthetic beauty of the region. Any loss in biodiversity is a loss to the whole community – as it not only threatens the future health of the environment, but also the economic productivity of farmers and the health, wellbeing and viability of local communities.
The national strategy for Conservation of Australia’s Biological Diversity (Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030) identifies three levels of biodiversity:
- genetic diversity—the variety of genetic information contained in individual plants, animals and micro-organisms
- species diversity—the variety of species
- ecosystem diversity—the variety of habitats, ecological communities and ecological processes.
The Northern Agricultural Region is home to approximately 7,623 native plant and animal (including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and micro-organism) and approximately six (6) per cent (487 taxa) are endemic to the region.
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Data sourced from DBCA, Bird Life Australia, WWF, DPIRD and Landgate.