The Hills Shire is home to over 300 animal and 1000 plant species.
In addition to its high aesthetic and scientific value, the Shires biodiversity is critical to human health, soil fertility and erosion control. The services provided by biodiversity have historically been greatly underrated, and this continues to hamper conservation efforts globally. A number of foreign studies have demonstrated that tens of thousands of human fatalities have resulted directly and solely from biodiversity loss in the last decade, and it is hoped that this will encourage biodiversity conservation to be prioritised commensurate with its critical role to human welfare.
The overwhelming majority (>70%) of remaining bushland in the Greater Sydney region is preserved in National Park or reserve. However, The Hills Shire Council has just 6% of its bushland preserved in Council Bushland Reserves, Crown Land and Private Conservation Agreements. This makes the long-term prospects for regional biodiversity conservation particularly grim. Private land provides habitat for 38 animal species, 24 plant species and 10 vegetation communities legally recognised as Threatened with extinction – many being unique, and few being protected in reserves. Considering that similar numbers of species have become extinct in the Shire in the last few decades, it is clear that biodiversity conservation needs to become a priority for the Shire.
The Hills Hibbertia
The Hills Hibbertia Hibbertia superans is a beautiful flower found in Kenthurst and surrounding suburbs. As far as we can tell, the species is unique to our Shire.
Little or no research has been conducted on this species. A population of plants near Kempsey is similar to plants at The Hills, but is likely to belong to a separate species. An investigation into this situation is planned as part of the Biodiversity Conservation Planning project in 2010.
‘Silent Night’ microbat survey
Small ‘microbats’ make up nearly half of the Shire’s mammals, and are amazing and diverse creatures. Over 40 properties were surveyed for microbats in 2009. Details of the study and information on the microbat species can be found 'Silent Night' microbat survey (1.38MB).
Councils Biodiversity Conservation Mapping Program
Council has been undertaking an audit of biodiversity on private land across the Shire since July 2008. This study has only been possible with the wonderful help of the many private property owners who have volunteered for the program. Tens of thousands of new Threatened species records have now been databased, vastly improving our understanding of the nature and distribution of species in the Shire.
The program is now being finalised and documented, although some research is continuing. Opportunities to participate in Councils Biodiversity Conservation Mapping are still open, and provide a great opportunity for anyone who wants to see some of the more elusive wildlife in the Shire or learn how to survey for plants and animals, all whilst playing a role to help to protect our unique biodiversity.
How can I get involved?
If you own a property in the Shire that contains bushland, why not include it as a survey site for this project? This is a great opportunity for you to find out the kinds of wildlife that are inhabiting your property, and to help us understand and protect the our local biodiversity.
If you make incidental sightings of significant wildlife, make sure you fill out a Fauna Monitoring Record Sheets. These can be collected and deposited at centres detailed overleaf.
If you are interested in being involved, email your details to at email@example.com or telephone +61 2 9843 0555.
Please include your interests, general availability, fitness level, and transport availability so that Council can involve you in a project that suits you.
More information, including Fauna Monitoring Record Sheets can be obtained from the following locations:
- Hills Shire Libraries:
- Baulkham Hills Library
- Castle Hill Library
- Carlingford Library
- Dural Library
- Vinegar Hill Library
or downloaded by clicking on the following link:
Fauna Monitoring Record Sheet - 19 KB
Completed forms can be returned by:
- The drop-off box at the Annangrove Environment Centre
- Handing in at Councils Administration Building (Cnr Showground and Carrington Roads Castle Hill)
- Faxing to (02) 9843 0339, or
- Mailed to:
Bushland Projects Officer
The Hills Shire Council
PO Box 75
Click on the following link for more information about native animals in The Hills Shire and recent sightings.
Vegetation Classification Mapping
Click on the following link for more information about vegetation classification mapping.
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