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Southern Fleurieu

Biodiversity:  Protecting and restoring habitat

High Priority

What is this issue

Loss and fragmentation of habitat from past and current clearing, associated with development, sub-division of properties and urban encroachment.

Impacts of the issue

  • Loss of habitat for native species
  • Reduction in size and isolation of plant and animal populations
  • Increased vulnerability to other threats (such as climate change, pests, weeds)
  • Decline of woodland birds is on-going due to lag in response to past clearing
  • 'Increaser' species (such as little corella) affect the condition of remaining habitat


  • Past clearing
  • Value of agricultural land


  • Low community awareness of biodiversity values
  • Lack of powers to prevent further losses (legislation/policy)
  • Uncertainty about responsibility for management
  • Politically driven (allocation of resources)
  • Lack of knowledge and management of existing areas
  • Communication issue
  • External pressures (e.g. population increase)

Climate impacts and adaptation needs

Climate change compounds the impacts habitat loss on biodiversity values. Isolated populations with low genetic diversity and low capacity for dispersal are more vulnerable to climate change. Shifts in weed and pest species’ distributions may compound existing pressures on remnant vegetation (but there may be reduced pressure from some weeds). Ensuring restoration actions are ‘climate-ready’ now is important to the future viability and longevity of plantings.

Who plays a role

  • Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board
  • Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
  • Developers
  • Federal and State Government
  • Local Government (District Council of Yankalilla, City of Victor Harbor, Alexandrina Council)
  • Non-government organisations
  • Real Estate
  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board
  • Utilities

Strategies and Actions

Protect remaining habitat from further clearing and other threats

  • Support partnerships to develop a best-practice model for land sub-division
  • Advocate for increased funding for management of public reserves
  • Provide information on land management needs to new landholders, and make available to prospective buyers
  • Continue existing projects to protect and reduce threats to habitat
  • Continue development and implementation of local government biodiversity plans

Restore and re-connect habitat to maintain and improve biodiversity values

  • Undertake landscape-scale restoration projects to improve habitat connectivity and species resilience to a range of threats
  • Raise community awareness of biodiversity values and provide opportunities for people to connect with nature
  • Identify priority areas to target on-ground works and threat mitigation activities
  • Showcase land management options that improve biodiversity outcomes
  • Seek resources for long-term biodiversity monitoring programs