Vegetation and Biodiversity
Why is vegetation and biodiversity important to us?
Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, contributes directly to human well-being. As well as providing basic goods such as food, fuel and medicine. In addition, biodiversity underpins ecosystem function and the provision of benefits to people including water purification, pollination and soil fertility (UN-DESA 2014). Vegetation has long held special significance to Aboriginal communities as a source of food, medicine and other resources, as well as having spiritual significance (QMDC 2008). In addition, nature based tourism is the largest form of tourism in Queensland.
A healthy and functioning ecosystem is also advantageous when dealing with unpredictable global changes, including climate change such as increased temperature extremes and increased localised storm activities. The changes that have been made to ecosystems by humanity have contributed to substantial net gains in human well-being and economic development, but these gains have been achieved at growing costs in the form of the degradation of many ecosystem services. These problems, unless addressed, will substantially diminish the benefits that future generations obtain from ecosystems (UNEP 2014).
There are a range of ecosystems serving as buffers against natural hazards that provide a means to address climate change adaptation, enhance resilience and reduce the vulnerability of human communities. This ranges from helping mitigate the impact of flooding and land degradation to the promotion of human well-being through provision of urban green space (UN-DESA 2014).
The region’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (ComLaw 1999) (EPBC) listings and Regional Ecosystem mapping information (mature regrowth, remnant and pre-clear) was used to estimate the extent of the following communities:
- White Box-Yellow Box – Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland – Critically endangered,
- Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla dominant and co-dominant) – Endangered,
- Natural grasslands on basalt and fine – textured alluvial plains of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland – Critically endangered,
- Weeping Myall Open Woodland of the Darling Riverine Plains and Brigalow Belt South Bioregions – Endangered,
- Coolibah-Black Box Woodlands of the Darling Riverine Plains and the Brigalow Belt South Bioregions,
- Semi-evergreen Vine Thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South and Nandewar Bioregions) – Endangered,
- New England Peppermint (Eucalyptus nova-anglica) Grassy Woodlands,
- Natural Grasslands of the Queensland Central Highlands and the northern Fitzroy Basin. (EPBC 1999).
Remnant biodiversity status of the region (Blackley 2015)
These listed vegetation areas represent priority areas for vegetation plantings, regrowth retention and enhancing remnant vegetation management. Enhancing natural vegetation in these priority areas may have a range of benefits including carbon sequestration potential, biodiversity, salinity risk reduction and possibly including forestry potential.
Want to see and know more?
QMDC has extensively mapped a variety of the region’s vegetation communities, including brigalow, weeping myall, box gum grassy woodlands and more. You can view these maps as pdfs and jpegs here: http://www.qmdc.org.au/publications/browse/89/vegetation-and-flora
And via TerraNova, the Australian Climate Change Adaptation Information Hub, modelling work has been carried out to demonstrate the benefits of revegetation management under future climate scenarios.
The 3C project evaluated the impacts of climate change on biodiversity up to 2050 and mapped where conservation actions will provide the greatest benefits. Impacts on 100 ecosystems were modelled for six alternative climate futures using a range of spatial-analytical approaches. Natural resource management agencies can now incorporate this information into their planning.
Novel methodologies were developed to integrate climate impacts with other key considerations – representation of distinct vegetation classes, vegetation condition and habitat connectivity – into a framework for evaluating scenarios in terms of overall biodiversity persistence; and for mapping the biodiversity benefits of applying conservation measures and revegetation across a region.
The 3C provides a big-picture perspective to natural resource management agencies (NRMs), the people who are well-placed to make decisions at a local scale. The 3C biodiversity evaluation warns of significant changes and general depletion of biodiversity in the region arising from climate change.
- Full reports for three clusters – Central Slopes (Maranoa-Balonne and Border Rivers), Murray Basin and East Coast
- Mapping of revegetation benefits, links benefits, climate influence and more for the Maranoa-Balonne and Border Rivers