Established around 2011, the Border Ranges Alliance was formed from a core group involved in the development of the Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan, a federally funded multi-species recovery plan focussing on the rainforest and associated vegetation types of the Border Ranges Global Biodiversity Hotspot in northern NSW and South East Queensland.
The Alliance now operates as a Working Group of the Norther Rivers Fire & Biodiversity Consortium inc, a multi-partner community and government group promoting culturally and ecologically appropriate fire regimes and sustainable burning practices across the NSW northern rivers region. The Alliance continues to work with small groups of local landholders to identify habitat and connectivity conservation priorities and seek funds to invest in onground restoration and protection works for a range of plant and animal species.
What makes this region special
The Border Ranges’ spectacular, rugged mountain scenery and diverse wildlife and ecosystems have led to the region being recognised as a Forests of East Australia Global Biodiversity Hotspot – places on earth that are the richest in biodiversity. These hotspots represent just 2.4% of the Earth’s land surface but together support more than half of the world’s plant species and almost 43% of its animals.
With over 8,000 vascular plant species and more than 2,000 species found nowhere else on earth, the Border Ranges exceeds the number of endemic species needed for this diverse region to be globally recognised.
Within the Border Ranges, there are 108 conservation reserves including national parks, nature reserves, crown land and private conservation properties. However, 77% of the natural vegetation of the region has been cleared through historical logging and agriculture and ongoing development of lands for residential, horticultural and urban uses. This has directly impacted the ability of many species to disperse or move across the landscape in response to foraging, breeding or roosting needs. As original farm holdings are subdivided into rural lifestyle lots, many with absentee owners, land management practices are changing and new threats have emerged such as the spread of invasive weeds and loss of native grassy habitats through lack of fire. With a warming climate, wildfires are an increasing threat to the once protected rainforests of the region.
The Border Ranges Alliance is working with willing landholders to reverse this trend and restore the connectedness, health and resilience of this diverse region. Simple activities such as weed control, assisted natural regeneration of recovering bush areas, riparian and koala food tree plantings and nest box installation go a long way towards improving the habitat value of individual properties. By focussing on key corridors and threatened species, these works benefit whole ecosystems and will help secure the biodiversity value of the region.