Biodiversity threats

Reducing the threats to biodiversity in Adelaide and the Park Lands.

The Adelaide Park Lands are the lungs of the city. They are a place where you can relax and have fun. They are also a haven for native plants and animals to live. Natural threats such as weeds and feral animals, as well as the varied use of the Park Lands for recreation, business and other activities all places pressure on the animals and plants that call the Park Lands home.

The City of Adelaide is taking steps to reduce or minimise these threats to biodiversity in the Park Lands. Find out what we are doing, and how you can help.

Did you know?

Cats have been implicated in the disappearance of at least one bird species from the Adelaide Park Lands, the Fairy Martin (Petrochelidon ariel).

Cats and foxes are a major threat to the native animals and birds that call the Adelaide Park Lands home.

Cats are a common choice of pet in suburban neighbourhoods. If allowed to roam, however, domesticated cats can have a devastating effect on native wildlife. Most cat owners are unaware how far their pets roam or how many native animals including birds, reptiles and small mammals are killed by cats.

Similarly, foxes can be seen slinking into the shadows of the Park Lands at night. Their taste for native mammals and animals is sadly well known.

What is being done - what can you do?

Unfortunately, a bell around a cat’s neck is an ineffective warning for a native animal. If you own a cat, the safest way to protect birds, other creatures, is to keep your cat indoors. Fox movements in the Park Lands are being monitored, so if you see a fox, please report it to the Park Lands Ranger on 0407 394 662.

Land clearing for agriculture and urbanisation has been the main cause of species extinction in South Australia. The clearing of trees, vegetation, logs and rocks remove homes for animals that must then either find new areas to live or perish.

Land clearing was rapid and extensive during European settlement of Adelaide and the Mt Lofty Ranges. Large scale clearing only ceased in 1980, after ninety-percent of the original native vegetation had been removed. As a result, many animals have declined in numbers and in some cases are now extinct.

What is being done – what can you do?

Thankfully large-scale clearing has now ceased, so maintaining existing vegetation and habitat areas is a priority when considering works within the Park Lands. The City of Adelaide has set aside Key Biodiversity Areas to ensure our wildlife has a habitat in which to live. You can help by carefully considering the effects of any work you do in your garden, and the impact it will have on ecosystems. You can also plant natives or build a bee hotel.

A weed is any plant, from a small herb to a large tree, that we consider as not belonging in a place. Left to their own devices, weeds have the potential to outcompete native vegetation and leave the natural environment in a degraded state.

What are we doing – what can you do?

The City of Adelaide’s biodiversity team is vigilant about removing Declared Weeds early, as these plants pose a threat to the natural environment, to industry and to public safety. You can learn about Declared Weeds in South Australia and help remove those that you see.

We encourage you to visit Adelaide’s biodiversity areas, to experience the wonder of nature and reap the health benefits that spending time in natural ecosystems provides. When you do, please enjoy these areas in a thoughtful way. Unfortunately, some visitors get a little too eager and stray off paths to take photos or leave litter behind.

What are we doing – what can you do?

The City of Adelaide has built trails throughout many of the Adelaide Park Lands which highlight key biodiversity areas. Some even have interpretive signage. You can help minimise damage to the area by not:

  • Riding bikes off the trails, which can damage plants and the soil microbial layer. Instead, stick to one of the many enjoyable trails available.
  • Breaking branches, which are used by birds for perching and damages the tree.
  • Pulling up plants or removing trees, which can decrease habitat and food for animals.
  • Lighting fires, which can get out of control and destroy habitat.
  • Removing dead wood and branches, which can be a habitat for insects, reptiles and small mammals.
  • Dumping rubbish or littering, which may have ongoing effects and be toxic to plants and animals.