Biodiversity

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What's it all about?pelicans on the water

Biodiversity is the variety of all life forms - the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems of which they form a part.  Kiama Municipality has a wide range of natural environments, from littoral rainforest to escarpment forest, estuaries and beaches, urban reserves and backyards and rural productive land all of which provide important diversity of habitat.  

Being part of the larger Illawarra area, there are a number of important habitat types and communities which support rare and vulnerable flora and fauna species.  These are referred to as Endangered Ecological Communities, or EECs, and are afforded protection under legislation to ensure their ongoing survival.  You can read more about these communities and the animals and plants which they support on our Flora and Fauna page, which also includes some interesting fact sheets.

Why is biodiversity so important?

Our national identity is linked to our biodiversity - Australia has long been known for its diverse range of habitats, unique fauna and vast areas of wilderness.  Iconic areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu National Park have attracted visitors from around the world.

Our food depends on it - one of the great benefits of protecting biodiversity is that it provides a pool of genes to improve our crops. Wild genes can provide resistance to disease, improve production and protect against long-term changes in temperatures and rainfall. Everything we eat has a genetic tradition.

Our medicines are made from it - over 21,000 plants around the world have reported medical uses. Lymphoid leukaemia once killed 90 per cent of its child victims within six months. Now the disease is being effectively treated with tylocrebrin, a drug derived from an Australian native vine, Tylophora.

We are all connected - we are connected to all other things in the web of life through the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. By affecting other parts of the web, we are impacting our own place in the environment, and our quality of life.

Natural spaces are healing places, places of discovery and adventure, places of sport and relaxation. It is well known that communities with plenty of healthy green spaces are much happier and have a higher quality of life.

Backyard biodiversity

Sometimes in urban environments we can feel stressed with the pace of life and very separate from the natural world. Creating nature spaces in and around your property can provide healthy, peaceful and fun family places to spend time in. Nature spaces can be anything from seating in the centre of a shrub garden, to mini forests, nature trails and frog ponds. The trick is to create beautiful spaces for you to relax in (or play and discover!) while at the same time providing healthy habitats for native animals such as birds, frogs and lizards. Creating urban environments that are rich in a diversity of different living things (biodiversity) means a healthier community for us all.

The GROW LOCAL Illawarra Native Garden Guide, is a fantastic resource developed under the NSW Environmental Trust funded Illawarra Biodiversity and Local Food Strategy for Climate Change Project.  The guide contains handy information on local native plant species which you can use to create habitat space and diverse ecosystems in your own back yard.  There is also a GROW LOCAL Illawarra Edible Garden Guide.  

Click on the image to download the GROW LOCAL Illawarra Native Garden Guide.

7.6.2.2 - Biodiversity Projects and Policies - image1 - Grow Local Illawarra Native Garden Guide front cover

Links and Contacts

Landcare Illawarra 
www.landcareillawarra.org.au
Provides opportunities to be involved in environmental repair activities across the Illawarra.

South East Local Land Services
www.southeast.lls.nsw.gov.au
Provides resources, expertise and funding opportunities to undertake environmental improvement activities for landholders in the Illawarra and southern rivers catchment area of operation. 

Conservation Volunteers Australia
www.conservationvolunteers.com.au or 4228 9246
Provides a range of local, national and international opportunities to be involved in conservation projects.

Backyard Buddies
www.backyardbuddies.net.au
Has helpful information sheets with facts and tips on encouraging wildlife to your garden.

Birds in Backyards 
www.birdsinbackyards.net
Helps you create a bird-friendly backyard, and identify birds.

Bugwise
http://australianmuseum.net.au/Bugwise
Support the workers of soil creation, waste disposal and pollination!

Safer Solutions in your Garden
www.safersolutions.org.au
This excellent site contains a wealth of information on gardening without chemicals.

Frogs Australia 
www.frogsaustralia.net.au
Give a frog a home!

NSW Threatened Species 
www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au
Find out more about NSW threatened species and what you can do to help.

WIRES
www.wires.org.au 1300 094 737
Contact WIRES if you find an injured wildlife, or would like to volunteer to rehabilitate injured animals.