By Luke Preece

Cape York is an ancient landscape with fragile soils, fertile alluvial plains, expansive savannas, beautiful rainforests and rich mineral deposits. Many plant and animal species found here, are endemic to the region.

People have managed Cape York landscapes for many thousands of years. Aboriginal people used fire as a key management tool, and European settlers have farmed, mined, fished and grazed Cape York to earn a living.

Ensuring a sustainable environment for the many generations to follow is integral to planning for future land and sea management.

While there is a need for residents to use the land and sea as sources for survival, harvest and hunting practices must ensure that the biodiversity sustainably survives. Biodiv

Biodiversity: what it is and why it’s important

Biodiversity is a word that means the variety of living organisms on earth. Biodiversity is usually explored at three levels - genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. So the terminology describes not only the variety of species, it refers to genetic diversity within species, and the diversity habitats and ecological processes.

Biodiversity encompasses values: cultural values such as sacred sites and totemic species; environmental values such as water and carbon sequestration; intrinsic values of species to exist in their own right; aesthetic values, such as ethical and psychological characteristics of landscape beauty and charismatic species; and economic values such as tourism, fishing and industry.

Biological diversity is the existence of diversity within species, genetics and ecology. High biodiversity is considered essential for ecosystem stability.

Biodiversity in Australia and around the world is in decline due to  direct threats and indirect impacts, including, habitat clearing, pest species proliferation, industrial development and climate change.

All people bear responsibility to curb the loss of biodiversity, which can be achieved by way of:

  • implementing sustainable development and land management practices
  • actively reducing threats
  • conducting monitoring and research
  • improving environmental awareness and education
  • setting up appropriate governance structures
  • implementing policies for market-based approaches to conservation, through water, tourism or carbon sequestration.