Biodiversity on the fringe: the importance of local land use planning in achieving effective biodiversity conservation outcomes

Ms Nikki den Exter1

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


With clearing and habitat loss from urban and peri-urban development increasingly recognised as key drivers of declining biodiversity, effective biodiversity conservation relies upon the integration of biodiversity into local land use planning and development control frameworks. While planning systems vary across jurisdictions, common to all land use planning legislation in Australia is a commitment to the principles of ecologically sustainable development, including biodiversity conservation. Although conservation of biodiversity is increasingly accepted as a relevant consideration in land use planning, there are divergent views on whether biodiversity loss associated with urban and peri-urban development is significant or reasonable to control. Using a mixed-methods multiple-case study approach, this research: (i) identifies the variation in approaches to biodiversity conservation across local planning instruments in Tasmania; (ii) investigates the effectiveness of applying biodiversity provisions to urban and peri-urban development, including the role of offsets in achieving biodiversity outcomes; and (iii) examines the potential implications of the new mandated Tasmanian State Planning Planning provisions in addressing impacts on urban and peri-urban biodiversity. This research substantiates the importance of urban and peri-urban environments for biodiversity and the need for meaningful planning controls, including biodiversity offsets, to ensure this biodiversity is maintained.


Nikki den Exter has recently completed her PhD thesis investigating the role and relevance of land use planning in biodiversity conservation in Tasmania, under the supervision of Distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick and Dr Melinda McHenry. Nikki also works as an Environmental Planner with local government and has over 15 years’ experience in the fields of biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and land use planning. As both a practitioner and a researcher, Nikki offers a unique perspective on the importance of land use planning in contributing to biodiversity conservation.



The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

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