A bioregion is an area of land or sea defined by common patterns of natural characteristics and environmental processes (such as geology, landform patterns, climate, ecological features and plant and animal communities). A bioregion’s borders are defined by natural boundaries such as mountain ranges and soil types (rather than the political boundaries of many maps). Each bioregion has a unique collection of ecological communities as well as different patterns of land use and threats to biodiversity. A bioregion is smaller than an ecoregion, but larger than an ecosystem or catchment area.
In Australia, western science has identified 89 different bioregions across the continent. The system that is used to classify our bioregions is called the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA). IBRA was developed in 1993-94 and is endorsed by all levels of government as a key tool for identifying land for conservation under Australia’s Strategy for the National Reserve System 2009-2030. The nationally agreed regionalisation was published in Thackway and Cresswell 1995, An Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia: a framework for establishing the national system of reserves. The latest version of the IBRA is IBRA7.
Why does Greenprints start with ‘bioregions’?
AELA’s mission is to build the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred law, governance and ethics. A useful ‘starting point’ for mapping out what Earth centred governance looks like, is a bioregion.
- View the map of Australia’s bioregions.
- View an example of how conservation and land management groups in Australia already use bioregions in conservation projects.
The benefits of a bioregional approach are threefold. By using bioregional ecological health as a starting point for human governance, we can:
- implement a key aspect of Earth Jurisprudence, that is, we can develop our understanding of place and connection with our local Earth community;
- map out what nature needs to thrive and (in contrast to the idea of ‘sustainable development’) we can build understanding about the critical parameters and ultimate ‘end-game’ for us to work within; and,
- redesign human culture and society so that economic, social and political systems all work towards the same, life sustaining ecological goals.