Image: Suzane Jones
The release of the Sunshine Coast Council 2020 Biodiversity Report today (October 15) shows the region is on track to meet one of its green targets for 2041 with our region’s total amount of native vegetation increasing since 2016.
The baseline native vegetation extent of 124,283 hectares, established in the 2016 Biodiversity Report has increased to 124,872 hectares.
The report tracks progress across the region to ensure our native plants, animals and habitats are healthy, resilient and valued by the community in 2041.
Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said the Biodiversity Report provided a snapshot of our biodiversity assets – clearly reporting on the extent and type of vegetation, habitat areas, threatened plants and animals and the conservation estate at both a local government area and catchment scale.
“Protecting and enhancing our natural environment, including our biodiversity, is a key outcome of council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy (ELS), and a vital part of delivering a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast by 2041,” Cr Cox said.
“The ELS sets us a biodiversity target to maintain the 2016 extent of native vegetation (no net loss) by 2041 and I’m pleased to say we are making positive steps towards achieving that goal, with an overall net-gain of 589 hectares to our region’s native vegetation since 2016.
“This brings the Sunshine Coast’s total vegetation extent to approximately 124,872 hectares, which represents approximately 55 per cent of our local government area.
“However, the Sunshine Coast Council area has 117 threatened species of native plants and animals. That’s an increase from 104 species in 2016. A reminder that there is always more that we can do, which is why council is working to preserve and protect the Sunshine Coast’s biodiversity through actions in the Environment and Liveability Strategy,” Cr Cox said.
Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said the Biodiversity Report found the Sunshine Coast landscape continued to support a diverse range of flora, fauna and ecosystems, including:
Approximately 55 per cent or 124,872 hectares of native vegetation cover.
75 different vegetation types (regional ecosystems) grouped into six broad vegetation communities – coastal foredune, mangrove and saltmarsh, melaleuca and casuarina, heath and wallum, eucalypt and rainforest.
Almost half (46 per cent), or 57,404 hectares of our native vegetation is preserved by the Conservation Estate, in areas including National Parks, Nature Refuges, council environment reserves, environmental covenants and Land for Wildlife properties.
70 of our 75 regional ecosystems are preserved in the Conservation Estate.
117 Commonwealth and State listed threatened species, including 64 native animals and 53 native plants, live in Sunshine Coast habitat areas. These include the Koala, Glossy Black Cockatoo, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly and the Wallum Rocket Frog.
“The report provides a valuable source of evidence-based data to help council better understand our biodiversity assets, monitor our progress and inform investment decisions and conservation management strategies,” Cr Suarez said.
“It also provides a monitoring and reporting framework to help evaluate the effectiveness of council’s and the community’s biodiversity protection, enhancement and management efforts.
“For example, since the 2016 Biodiversity Report, habitat being protected through our region’s Conservation Estate has increased by 3,011 hectares.
“That means more areas to support our native plants and animals and more connected vegetation corridors,” Cr Suarez said.
To discover more Environment and Liveability projects happening in your area and to view the Biodiversity Report head to els.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.