Protect our terrestrial ecosystems
AJ Richardson found gem quality stones at Anakie
Terrestrial ecosystems include all the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit our landscapes. Terrestrial ecosystems provide many services, including:
- providing habitat for fauna and flora
- providing food, fibre, fuel, shelter resources
- storing, transforming and releasing carbon, water and other nutrients
- reducing the impact of floods, cyclones and droughts
- protecting soil resources from salinity and erosion
- producing atmospheric oxygen
- regulating climate.
Grazing, forestry, horticulture and cropping systems rely on pastures, trees, pollination and other elements of terrestrial ecosystems. Terrestrial ecosystems provided food and other resources for traditional Indigenous lifestyles, and have cultural significance to Indigenous Australians today. Terrestrial ecosystems also support social and recreational activities.
The Terrestrial ecosystems fact sheet gives an overview of the current state and trends of this regional asset.
Mapping the key values and identifying areas that are at risk is an important tool for managing these assets effectively. The mapping tool below allows stakeholders to access specific data that can be used as a basis for sound decision making. If you are using an iPad or iPhone to access the CQSS:2030 website, please click on the mapping application button below to access it.
For more complete and detailed geographical data, or if you are using an iPad or iPhone, please visit the detailed map application by clicking the link below. You will be taken from the CQSS:2030 website to a powerful mapping application that draws on a richer data set.
In central Queensland
Central Queensland’s terrestrial vegetation is dominated by an acacia known as brigalow and 96 per cent of the region falls within the Brigalow Belt Bioregion. As well as brigalow, there is a wide variety of eucalypt, acacia, cypress pine and grassland communities, as well as rainforest, heath and mangrove habitats in some areas.
Despite extensive land clearing, the region retains a high diversity of species. Many species are at the northern or southern limits of their distribution. There are at least 20 animal species and 30 plant species of conservation significance in the region. The region has many iconic endemic species (found nowhere else) and remnant stronghold populations such as the bridled nailtail wallaby, yellow-bellied glider, glossy black-cockatoo and yellow chat.
Most ecosystems in the region are highly fragmented from historical tree clearing and land development. Tree clearing continues to occur, although at a much lower rate than previously.
As a result 110 regional ecosystems are ‘endangered’ and 158 are ‘of concern’ under Queensland legislation. At least 16 exotic animal species and 186 exotic plant species are found in the region.
Some new habitats are forming as a result of naturalised weeds, large infrastructure disturbance and rehabilitation, and vegetation thickening. Vegetation thickening is a complex response to grazing pressure and changed fire regimes.
Generally the health of terrestrial ecosystems is in decline. This is shown in the many species now occurring over smaller ranges, the decline and loss of some species and ecosystems, and loss of ecosystem function. Complex ecosystems are typically being replaced by simpler ecosystems.
Conservation lands provide critical refugia for many species. Connectivity of habitats at the local level is poor.
Land clearing remains the greatest threat to biodiversity, as well as being a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation, dryland salinity and reduced water quality.
Biodiversity values are expected to continue to decline in response to current and historical clearing and fragmentation.
Increasing temperatures and changes to seasonality and extreme weather events are likely to have significant impacts on biodiversity. Impacts are likely to include changes to the suitable ranges of species and ecosystems (natural as well as introduced). A heavily fragmented landscape is less resilient to climate change pressures on natural ecosystems.
The key attributes identified for terrestrial ecosystems are the extent, condition and connectivity of ecosystems. There are also strategies to improve our understanding of the cumulative impacts of pressures, identify critical refugia, and to improve the management of new habitats. Vegetation planning is another key strategy to protect refugia and improve landscape connectivity through vegetation and wildlife corridors. Strategies for managing introduced weeds and pests, increasing habitat connectivity and maintaining and protecting refugia are also identified.
Remote sensing is used to monitor change in land use as part of the Queensland Land Use Monitoring Program and woody vegetation cover, part of the State-wide Landcover and Trees monitoring by DSITIA.
The Queensland Herbarium has recently mapped the potential carbon and biodiversity benefits of revegetation.
State and regional wildlife corridors have been identified to prioritise habitat protection and restoration activities including environmental offsets (EHP, RGC/FBA).