Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

's National Reserve System (NRS) is a network of more than 10,000 Commonwealth plus state and territory
protected area Protected areas or conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabl ...
s which, in combination, on a
nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ethnic group; it has been described as "a fully ...
al scale, protect more than , greater than 17% of the
continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in area to smallest, these ...
, of unique
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near t ...
and most significant ecological landscapes for
future generations Future generations are the generations of people to come in the future, after the currently living generations of humans. The future generation is contrasted with current and past generations, and evoked in order to create thinking about interge ...
.Australian Government Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts "Caring for Our Country: National Reserve System" webpage
Accessed 2 June 2010
The aim of the NRS is protect the diversity of all native landscapes,
flora Flora is all the plant life present in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring (indigenous (ecology), indigenous) native plants. The corresponding term for animal life is ''fauna''. Flora, fauna, and other forms of kingdom ...
fauna Fauna is all of the animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular r ...
across Australia through strategic
habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Topics of interest include ...
protection. As part of the National Reserve System Cooperative Program, the
Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia The Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) is a biogeography, biogeographic regionalisation of Australia developed by the Australian government's Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Aus ...
framework was developed as a planning tool to assist in identifying areas of priority.


The move by the Australian Government to establish this National Reserve System was triggered by the international
Convention on Biological Diversity The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treatyMultilateral may refer to: * Multilateralism * Multilateration * Flea flicker (American football) {{disambig .... The conven ...
, as part of the nation's commitment to fulfilling the objectives of that convention.Australian Government Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts "Caring for Our Country: History of the National Reserve System" webpage
Accessed 2 June 2010
In particular, after signing and ratifying the convention in 1992 the then Prime Minister, Paul Keating, announced Within the first 4 years (1992–1996) $11.2 million was spent establishing the system and, with the cooperation and agreement of the Australian States and territories of Australia, States and territories 5,600 properties (covering almost ) were included within the system and a new Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) program was initiated to include some of the most valuable and rare ecological landscapes on Indigenous Australian owned lands. 17 Indigenous Protected Area were declared by 2003 which significantly added to the NRS. Within the next 10 years (1996–2007), with further substantial investment (through a National Heritage Trust) an additional were added to the National Reserve System, two thirds of which were Indigenous Protected Areas. During this time, starting in 1999, Tasmania took a lead investing in partnerships to create protected areas on other private lands; and by 2005 all the states and territories re-affirmed their joint commitment to what was to be described as a national 'flagship in biodiversity conservation'. The National Reserve System continues to be an Australian Government priority, with continuing funding "target[ing] areas with low levels of protection, including the sub-tropical savanna from Cape York Peninsula, Cape York to the Kimberley (Western Australia), Kimberley, the Astrebla, Mitchell grass country of Regions of Queensland#North West, north-west Queensland and arid central Australia; continuing investment in indigenous protected areas; plus a new National Reserve System strategy identifying priorities and actions to be taken over the next 20 years.Australian Government Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts "Caring for Our Country: Strategy for Australia's National Reserve System 2009-2030" webpage
Accessed 2 June 2010


The NRS has been praised by the WWF Australia as a successful, cost-effective conservation measure. CSIRO modelling has concluded that the NRS will be an important conservation tool to combat the effects of climate change in Australia on the environment.

See also

* Indigenous Protected Area * Protected areas of Australia * Protected areas of the Australian Capital Territory * Protected areas of New South Wales * Protected areas of the Northern Territory * Protected areas of Queensland * Protected areas of South Australia * Protected areas of Tasmania * Protected areas of Victoria * Protected areas of Western Australia * Wild river#Australia, Wild rivers


{{Australia topics Protected areas of Australia