Inner West Council


Biodiversity is the variety of all living things including plants, animals and micro organisms, and the ecosystems in which they live. Biodiversity is important for many reasons:

  • It makes up the structure of the ecosystems and habitats that support essential living resources, including wildlife, fisheries and forests.

  • It helps provide for basic human needs such as food, shelter, and medicine.

  • It comprises ecosystems that maintain oxygen in the air, enrich the soil, purify the water, protect against flood and storm damage and regulate climate.

  • Biodiversity also has recreational, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic values.

Human activity plays a major role in the decline of biodiversity. Land clearing in rural and urban environments, introduction of pest species (including many urban-dwellers such as pets and garden plants) and pollution are just some of the factors that have contributed to the loss of biodiversity. Everyone can have a positive impact on biodiversity both close to home and globally, just by making simple choices in the way we live. For example, using recycled paper can help reduce the amount of land clearing, while washing the car on the lawn instead of next to the drain can help keep pollution out of our waterways - every little bit helps.

Inner West Council Bushcare Groups

Come along and join our wonderful groups of volunteers, spend a few hours with your hands in the soil, caring for and learning about our local plants and environment. New volunteers are especially welcome, and no experience is required. A tasty morning tea is provided. 

Please click here to find out more information on the Inner West Council bushcare groups and working bee times.

Native Vegetation

Most of the native vegetation in our local area has been cleared since European settlement and only a few small areas of remnant vegetation remain. There are two endangered ecological communities still represented in the area, including remnant species from the Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest community found at Ashfield Park, and a small community or Sydney Coastal Estuary Swamp Forest Complex that is now confined to a few remaining swamp mahogany trees (Eucalyptus robusta) in Robson Park. 

You can help conserve these local vegetation communities as well as improve habitat for native animals by planting locally native species in your garden or on your balcony. The former Ashfield Council compiled a list of locally native plants to help you choose plants that are right for you, if you live in the Ashfield area- please click here to download a PDF of the list. Plants that are grown from locally-occurring seed sources are the best choice for maintaining local biodiversity, and these plants can often be found at community nurseries (it's best to call first and check what's available). However, many of the plants on the local planting list can also be purchased from local nurseries.

Native Animals

Long-nosed bandicootThe Ashfield area is home to many native animals, including birds, reptiles and mammals. An endangered population of Long-nosed Bandicoots lives in the Inner West, with recent sightings recorded in 2011.

Download the brochure "Do you have a bandicoot in your backyard?" for more information on how to improve habitat for this native species and how to ensure this local population continues to survive in an urban environment.

For more information on native animals in Ashfield and the Inner West, visit the Fauna section GreenWay website:

How you can help improve Biodiversity

Below are some of the things we can do to help protect biodiversity in the Ashfield area and to build a sustainable future for our children:

  • Plant native species as they provide a food source and shelter for local wildlife.
  • Remove exotic weeds from your garden and dispose of them appropriately.
  • Join a local landcare group such as the Inner West Environment Group (IWEG) who undertake revegetation works in the Ashfield LGA. For more information visit IWEG’s website
  • Be a responsible pet owner by
    • Making sure your cat wears a bell;
    • Always picking up after your dog;
    • Microchipping, registering, de-sexing and regularly worming your dogs and cats (registration and microchipping will also help us reunite you with your pets if they get lost);
    • Keeping dogs within your property or on a leash; and
    • Keeping cats inside at night. 
  • Avoid pesticides and chemicals in your garden - birds, frogs and reptiles can become sick or die if they feed on insects sprayed with some pesticides. Look for natural alternatives such as planting insect deterring plants or companion planting.
  • Leave snakes and spiders alone because they belong in our environment.

With increasing urbanisation and pressures associated with the drought we are finding native birds and animals in the Ashfield Area that would not necessarily have lived here in the past. This is particularly evident with increasing incidences of Ibis within the local government area. Click here for more information on the Australian White Ibis

Feral animals can also cause problems to our local wildlife please visit the feral animal page on our website for further information.