Although the Southern Highlands area has been extensively farmed and cleared by Europeans since the early 1800’s, there are still many significant areas of native vegetation, National Parks and Reserves. In fact, more threatened species can be found in the woodlands and forests of the Wollondilly and Burrogorang Valleys than anywhere else in the Sydney Basin.
The remaining vegetation forms a series of stepping stones across private and public lands that connect the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and Sydney Catchment Authority lands in the North, to Morton National Park in the South.
The area contains three important woodland communities, a rainforest and a number of threatened plant and bird species. In addition to linking the Morton National Park and Nattai National Park, the area has significant east-west values for a number of coastal wetland birds that travel inland during wetter seasons.
Urban expansion and the encroachment of rural subdivision are significant threats that could further fragment habitats in this region and break the connection between the Blue Mountains and the Southern national parks.
The Southern Highlands Link partnership has been formed with the purpose to enhance regional corridors to promote the long-term viability of ecosystems and native species by fostering partnerships between landholders, community, business and government organisations and highlighting the importance of connectivity conservation across the region. It is made up of representatives from state government, local government, local landcare groups, local landholders and the business community.
The partnership has completed the initial priority planning stage and will be launching its priority projects in 2014.