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What are we doing to improve biodiversity?

How are we conserving biodiversity?

Nature Conservation Directions Statement

The Nature Conservation Directions Statement 2020 was a Government initiative, representing a commitment to preserve and enhance South Australia’s enviable diversity of natural systems. It establishes a vision for all South Australians to forge a new relationship with nature and is supported by goals and leading practice principles.

Bounceback - building resilience across the ranges

Bounceback is a landscape scale conservation program that aims to protect and restore the semi-arid environments of the Flinders, Olary and Gawler ranges in the SA Arid Lands region. Bounceback now operates on national park reserves, Aboriginal owned and managed lands, private sanctuaries, and pastoral lands.

Major achievements:

The decline of the yellow-footed rock-wallaby across its range in South Australia prompted the effort to secure rock-wallaby populations in the Ikara- Flinders Ranges National Park in the early 1990s. Under Bounceback, integrated pest management would be supported by science, so that threats might be better understood and managed.

Over time, what began as a program to secure a threatened species, evolved into a landscape-scale conservation program.

With its expanded vision, investment and resources, Bounceback has extended its reach across park boundaries to other land tenures in the Flinders, Gawler and Olary ranges, in partnership with landholders, the SA Arid Lands and Northern and Yorke Landscape Boards, other conservation organisations and volunteer groups.

Restoring habitats

The repair and restoration of native habitats is complex and challenging. There is no quick fix, particularly for ecosystems shaped by boom and bust cycles, where disturbance and decline are a natural part of how things work. Over time, Bounceback aims to improve the condition of native vegetation communities, so that they become more resilient and can support native animal populations through these boom and bust cycles. Recovery can be measured using indicator species – plants and animals whose populations have been dramatically impacted by long-term disturbance.

Controlling threats

Introduced plants and animals not only threaten native species, but their impacts may result in irreversible or difficult-to-reverse changes to ecosystem function. When native vegetation is removed from the landscape, wind and water strip away fragile topsoil and open up the country to erosion. As well as losing the structural components of animal habitats, vital nutrients are lost from the landscape. By controlling threats from pest plants and introduced predators, and by managing total grazing pressure, Bounceback aims to enhance the resilience of plant communities and the creatures they support.

Linking efforts

Conservation beyond park boundaries are required if ecosystems, habitats and native species, are to survive the challenges of climate change. When habitats are fragmented, gene flow is restricted and the resilience of species is diminished over time.

Habitats that are connected across the broader landscape give species the best possible chance of adapting should temperatures rise, rainfall decrease, and damaging, high-energy events become more frequent. Fostering and maintaining partnerships is essential for building resilience across the Bounceback footprint.

Bounceback partners

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The Sanctuary Scheme is a voluntary scheme that encourages and assists landowners to provide habitats for wildlife on their property. A sanctuary is a private or public area containing high value habitat outside the DEW system of parks and reserves.

There have been sanctuaries in South Australia since 1919. Originally they were set up to provide areas where mammals and birds could not be hunted.

Sanctuaries are declared on land containing areas of established habitat where landowners are committed to conservation management.

Benefits of sanctuaries

Endangered species protection

Sanctuaries have been created to protect endangered species. On Kangaroo Island and the Fleurieu Peninsula sanctuaries are protecting sheoak habitat for glossy-black cockatoos. Other sanctuaries have been established to protect pygmy bluetongue lizards living in native grasslands in the northern agricultural districts.

Production and biodiversity conservation

There are many sanctuaries that combine other land uses with biodiversity conservation. Sanctuary landowners are involved in:

  • farming, grazing and horticultural enterprises
  • production and distribution of electricity
  • organic horticulture and wine production.


A number of sanctuaries are involved in ecotourism offering:

  • bed and breakfast accommodation
  • guided tours and nature walks
  • opportunities for tourists to come in contact with Australia's unique wildlife.

Public education and use

Sanctuaries may also be established on public land. These sanctuaries often combine biodiversity conservation with recreational use by the public. Examples include:

  • golf courses
  • lakes used for swimming and boating
  • picnic areas.

Related links

Previous initiatives

The Nature of SA project

The Nature of SA was a sector-wide partnership to guide positive change in our approach to nature conservation in response to a changing climate, extensive landscape change and a changing world. The partnership was active 2016 - 2018 and followed an adaptive, inclusive process to develop a strategic approach for conserving nature in the 21st century in South Australia.

The website is a product of that government and NGO partnership. It outlines 9 shifts for nature conservation in South Australia. They explore how nature and our society are changing and chart a course to best respond to these challenges.

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No species loss

The aim of No Species Loss – a Nature Conservation Strategy for South Australia 2007 to 2017 was to lose no more species from South Australia. When released in 2007, No Species Loss defined what we thought was required over the next ten years to protect the state's ecosystems - the native plants and animals, and the environments in which they live. That Strategy recognises that some of the damage we have done to our ecosystems may take hundreds of years to repair.

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