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Biodiversity - your responsibilities

Introduction

Australia has a large number of species and ecological communities that are under threat of extinction, mostly due to land clearing and related loss of habitats.

Land owners should be aware of their responsibilities to prevent further damage to the natural resource base and to protect biodiversity.

Victorian farmers have a number of legal obligations in managing biodiversity on their farms. It is important to check the legal implications of any action that may affect native plants and animals.

Native vegetation contributes to water quality, landscape values and long-term productivity of the land. Healthy, diverse farming systems may be more resilient to change. Diversity of plants and animals is necessary to support the natural environment.

The listing of a species, ecosystem or ecological community as 'threatened' triggers special management attention to try to ensure that the population numbers or areas of the communities do not decline further and have a chance to recover.

This special management may include addressing the threatening processes (such as land clearing, predation by feral species or salinity) as well as measures such as captive breeding or relocation of animals, or cloning or seed banking of plants.

Not allowing species and communities to reach crisis point is the smarter and more effective way of ensuring their survival.

Managing all properties to minimise their impacts on the environment and maximise their biodiversity will assist native species and communities to survive, as well as minimising farmers' liability under State and Federal legislation.

Biodiversity on Victorian farms

Key questions for farmers about biodiversity management

  • Is my land in an area declared as critical habitat for flora under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988?

  • Does an Interim Conservation Order affect my property?

  • Am I taking treeferns, grass-trees or sphagnum moss for sale?

  • Am I clearing 'native vegetation'? If so, do I fall within the planning scheme exemptions? If not, do I have a planning permit?

  • Am I hunting 'threatened' or 'protected' wildlife?

  • Am I hunting 'game'?

  • Am I disturbing the habitat of wildlife?

  • Am I catching listed fish?

  • Are any of my activities having a 'significant impact' on matters of national environmental significance?

  • Do I affect the biodiversity of my farm through breaches of the laws regarding water, chemical use, weeds, pests, pollution or soil degradation?

For information on biodiversity on farms in Victoria,
phone the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136 186

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