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Trees and Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of all life forms on earth, from the smallest plants to the largest animals. Protecting biodiversity and land resources is important for the survival of healthy ecosystems.

Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016

On 25 August 2017 the land management biodiversity conservation reforms commenced. This introduced significant changes to the way biodiversity is protected, how development activities are regulated and how the impacts of these activities on the natural environment are managed.

How Might This Affect You?

If you are applying for development consent under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, your development may have impacts on biodiversity through either vegetation clearing or prescribed impacts. If these impacts occur, the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is triggered and an Accredited Assessor will need to submit a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) before development is approved.

Information on the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme can be found on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website at this link. 

A summary of the triggers to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme are detailed below:
  1. The development is located or infringing on the Biodiversity Values Map
  2. The development exceeds the following area clearing threshold; or
  3. The impacts are considered significant under Section 7.3 of the Act

BOS Area Clearing Thresholds

Minimum lot size of land Area of clearing
Less than 1 hectare 0.25 hectare or more
Less than 40 hectares but not less than 1 hectare 0.5 hectare or more

Where is Biodiversity Found?

The Georges River area has a network of over 300 parks, reserves and bushland areas. These areas are home to a variety of native animals including: possums, wallabies, flying foxes, lizards, birds and fish. It is also home to many species of threatened flora and fauna.
As Australian bushland has diminished through increased urbanisation, many native animals have lost their natural homes. As a result, wildlife occasionally seeks sanctuary in homes, backyards and community spaces. Council ensures that any local activity has minimal impact on local native and vulnerable species.

How Can We Assist Biodiversity?

Build a Bee Hotel

Our talented Environmental Sustainability and Waste Team have created this short video with simple instructions to build your own insect hotel to encourage native stingless bees and other animals to your property. Bees and other insects play an important role in our local ecosystem by pollinating plants and preserving our biodiversity.

Residents can download our Backyard Biodiversity Guide and Planting Guide for helpful advice on encouraging biodiversity or planting trees in their own backyard. The Guides have also been circulated across our key vegetation corridors identified through the Greater Sydney Green Grid and internal Vegetation Mapping Report.

Hollows as Homes

Hollows as Homes launched in 2016 and is coordinated by the Royal Botanic Garden, the University of Sydney and Australian Museum. Georges River Council is one of many Sydney Councils encouraging the community to visit the Hollows as Homes website and record hollows in mature trees as well as the wildlife that use them!

With your help, Council can learn exactly where our remaining hollow-bearing trees are so that biodiversity conservation efforts can be focused. 

The following tips can also help assist biodiversity in your backyard or balcony:

  • Create spaces for local native species by providing a mixed strata in your garden with sheltered hollows for insects
  • Provide drinking water in sheltered locations and ensure the water is regularly changed so that mosquitoes do not use this site to breed
  • Plant locally native shrubs and small trees
  • Leave pots, small logs and rocks around your yard to create habitat for lizards and other ground-dwelling species
  • Limit the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Urban Canopy 

Expansion of our urban canopy is under way through scheduled tree planting in streets and public reserves, as well as ongoing urban canopy grant programs including the Five Million Trees (5MT) for Greater Sydney Grant Program. See Council's Tree Planting page for progress updates.

An environmental education program is also being rolled out with numerous upcoming workshops. Check What’s On for more information.

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