Biodiversity is the variety of life forms that exists in an area – the different plants, animal and microorganisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems they form.
Port Phillip and Western Port region is one of the most biologically diverse regions in Victoria, with at least 1800 native plant species and least 525 species of native fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
The biodiversity of the region is under constant pressure, especially given the expanding population of Melbourne and completing land uses and priorities. The greatest threats include vegetation clearing (leading to the loss of habitat), competition with pest plants and animals, y and inappropriate land and waterway management.
The PPWCMA works with the Australian Government, Victorian Government, local government, key agencies and community groups to ensure the conservation of the region’s natural biodiversity. This includes increasing the coverage and health of the regions native vegetation, controlling pests, developing and implementing recovery plans for threatened species and educating the community on the value of biodiversity.
Our region is home to a wide variety of native animals. From national icons like koalas, kangaroos and platypus, to unique and threatened species like the Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeater’s Possum, native animals play a vital role in keeping our ecosystems healthy and diverse.
Native animals and their habitats are connected in many ways. Every animal species supports the abundance or health of others and therefore, any loss of species threatens the health and resilience of ecosystems and their capacity to be productive and beneficial.
Native animals are important for many reasons:
- as indicators of healthy ecosystems, waterways and habitats – for example frogs in wetlands
- native animals play important roles in ecosystems by keeping some animals from becoming too numerous (predators), managing vegetation growth (weeds) or providing food, and recycling organic matter (decomposers)
- the variety of native animals and the ecosystems in which they live contribute to the quality of life we have
- each year, thousands of tourists visit the region to see our native plants and animals