Biodiversity (or biological diversity) is the variety of all life forms on Earth: the different plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems they are a part of.

Kempsey Shire has rich and unique biodiversity across its landscapes, from coastal plains and midland hills to the escarpment ranges.

The Macleay Valley contains more than 2,500 plant and animal species. However, 231 of these are threatened with extinction. There are also 16 Threatened Ecological Communities. Read more about local Threatened species.

The Thunggutti/Dunghutti people have had a longstanding connection to the land in the Macleay Valley. Biodiversity values are central to the Thunggutti/Dunghutti people’s spirituality, use of plants and animals for food and medicines, care for the land and passing on of cultural knowledge. 

Why is biodiversity important?

For our local animal and plant species to survive and thrive, it is essential that we protect, manage and restore natural ecosystems.

It is also in our own best interests to preserve biodiversity. In the past 200 years, Australia has experienced the largest documented decline in biodiversity of any continent in the world. While we don’t yet fully understand the effects of this decline, it is clear that the loss of key species such as bees could profoundly affect us.

Like all species, we depend on the biological life support systems provided by ‘ecosystem services’. Examples of ecosystems services are:

  • oxygen to breathe
  • clean water to drink
  • fertile soil for production
  • physical materials for shelter and food
  • crop pollination.

Our reliance on goods and services derived from a wide variety of organisms means that a decline in biodiversity could dramatically affect our physical, social, cultural and economic well-being. 

What threatens biodiversity?

Key threats to local biodiversity include:

  • the impacts of clearing, habitat fragmentation, fire, invasive species and agriculture
  • development pressures from population growth
  • climate change and sea level rise.

Kempsey Shire Council Biodiversity Strategy

Kempsey Shire Council has an important role in local biodiversity conservation and management.

By law, Council must ensure the areas it is responsible for are properly managed, developed, protected, restored, enhanced and conserved. Council operates under state and federal legislation in carrying out its regulatory functions of land use planning, zoning and development approval. 

Council is preparing a Biodiversity Strategy to guide the management of biodiversity in Kempsey Shire. The strategy will help Council manage population growth and preserve and improve our area’s valuable biodiversity. 

The Biodiversity Strategy is expected to be adopted by Council at its ordinary meeting in February 2022.