The greatest threat to our native wildlife is loss of habitat or a place to live. National parks and State forests provide homes for wildlife - plants and animals. Soil type, landscape and climate conditions influence where plants grow. To survive and thrive, plants need water, sunlight and nutrients. Managing parks and forests to protect plants can include:
- controlling severe bushfires which destroy fire-sensitive vegetation or create large areas of even-aged vegetation
- regular burning under controlled conditions to suit particular threatened plant species
- excluding or removing grazing animals such as cattle, horses and goats
- removing, or controlling the spread of, weeds
- controlling pests which eat native plants, destroy habitat or spread diseases
- prohibiting any collection of plants, flowers or seeds
- managing visitor access to limit vegetation trampling and damage
- minimising clearing for any developments
- restoring degraded areas.
Animals need a suitable and reliable food supply and places to shelter away from predators. Provided these basics are met, animals can successfully reproduce and multiply. National parks and State forests are ideal places for native animals. Animals are totally protected within national parks and State forests, and with few exceptions, cannot be hunted. Ways to protect animals could include:
- fencing to mitigate predators and competing grazing animals
- controlling bushfires which can destroy shelter, reduce food resources and expose animals to greater predation
- controlling pest animals such as feral cats, foxes, pigs and goats, that predate on native animals and/or destroy habitat
- supplementary feeding when natural disasters strike
- prohibiting hunting
- excluding people when necessary especially during breeding seasons
- limiting vehicle access to protect animals from roadkill or disturbance
- rehabilitating degraded areas
- protecting water quality in lakes and streams.
Parks are actively managed to conserve wildlife.
About other management areas
Pressures on our parks and forests are increasing. Natural places are being overtaken by urban, industrial and agricultural development. Precious remnants like national parks and other protected areas have to provide homes for wildlife to maintain our biodiversity and meet expanding outdoor education and recreation needs.
Protected areas, forests and marine parks provide the cornerstones for a broader whole-of-landscape and seascape approach to biodiversity conservation. They will continue to be extremely important for biodiversity conservation in the light of growing threats such as climate change, the delayed effects of fragmentation, and increased invasive species.
Multiple-use marine parks provide refuge areas for species and ecosystems while allowing for continuing use of the majority of the marine environment. Promoting healthy and resilient ecosystems ensures that these places will be around long into the future.