Protecting plants and animals in our city

Protecting plants and animals in our city

Nature in urban areas

As in any environment, plants and animals play an important role in urban areas.

The City of Sydney has a range of projects underway to encourage local biodiversity, as well as opportunities for people to volunteer and help local wildlife and green areas flourish.

Find out more about humans and wildlife  and the nature in Sydney.

As part of our efforts to green our city, we’re also designing green roofs and planting trees.

What is urban biodiversity?

The animals, plants and other living things that share our city are sometimes referred to as urban biodiversity. Biodiversity, or biological diversity, describes the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. Read more about biodiversity.

What is urban ecology?

Ecology is the study of relationships between living things – plants, animals, other organisms, and people – and their environment. Urban ecology is specifically focused on cities and urban areas and the relationship between living organisms in an urban environment .

Local biodiversity projects

The City of Sydney is committed to maintaining and enhancing our city’s unique biodiversity. We have has several projects in our parks and green spaces to protect native animals and plants. In the last 4 years alone, we have been busy increasing our bush restoration sites from 4.6 to 12.2 hectares that focus on improving diversity of native plants and habitat for our local wildlife.

Glebe foreshore habitat work

We are planting hundreds of shrubs, grasses and groundcover plants in Glebe Foreshore Parks to improve the diversity of locally indigenous plants and to create dense understorey habitat for small birds. Understorey plants are a key contributor to healthy ecosystems and provide particularly important habitat for small birds and insects. Through this project we hope to increase habitat that supports higher levels of biodiversity and provide a more interesting landscape for people.

We have also installed rock features and logs at ground level which will create more habitat for native animals like lizards.

This project is intended to contribute to the creation of an almost continuous biodiversity corridor connecting the Glebe foreshore to Orphan School Creek in Forest Lodge.

Sydney Park wetlands

Wetlands help to manage floods, reduce urban heat and support local wildlife.

Thousands of locally indigenous reeds, sedges, grasses and shrubs have been incorporated into a piece of land designed to absorb nutrients from stormwater at Sydney Park wetlands.

Wetlands are important habitat for many species, and this area will support local wildlife, including superb fairy-wrens, black-winged stilts, frogs and eastern long-necked turtles. It is also proving to be a regular rest point for migratory birds such as the Latham’s snipe on their way back and from Japan.

Urban Ecology workshop series

Each year, the City hosts a series of events for the community to learn about and connect with nature in our urban environments.

It’s widely known, that people who experience regular contact with nature are more likely to feel connected with nature.  Our annual workshop series gives people with an opportunity to learn about nature in our city, and how we can help the environment.

Examples of workshops and events include

  • microbat walk and talks
  • native gardening in small spaces
  • birds and breakfast tours
  • Aboriginal ecology and cultural tours
  • native bee workshops
  • pollinator habitat making workshops

If you have an idea for a workshop, or are interested in hosting a workshop, please email

Otherwise, keep an eye out for workshops and events by signing up to our urban ecology newsletter .

Frog ponds in parks

The City has built frog ponds in Kimberley Grove Reserve in Rosebery and Lewis Hoad Reserve in Glebe. The new pond in Glebe will support the healthy and growing number of frogs in an existing pond. In Rosebery, we recognised the need for frog habitat after the local community reported green and golden bell frogs in the area.

Native bees in parks and community gardens

Hives of a native stingless bee have been installed in six of the city’s community gardens and three of our bush restoration sites to date. Native bees play an important role in pollinating some of the fruit and vegetables being grown locally, as well as native plant species.

No-mow lawns

The City trialed a no-mow turf zone in Sydney Park and engaged the University of Sydney to compare its diversity to other bush restoration sites including our native meadow at Prince Alfred Park.

The results of the survey showed a distinct benefit to butterfly and ant species at the Sydney Park no mow zone. The City hopes to find additional sites to develop into no-mow zones in the future.

Seawall habitat

Concrete flowerpots have been attached to seawalls in Sydney Harbour to attract vulnerable marine life back into areas where natural shores have been replaced by foreshore development. Marine ecologists were involved in monitoring the marine wildlife as the project progressed. In Blackwattle Bay, 28 marine species were newly recorded in the area after the pots were installed.

The City delivered the project in partnership with the University of Sydney’s Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities and the Royal Botanic Garden and Domains Trust. This project was supported by Sydney Coastal Councils Group through funding from the Australian Government.

Flora & fauna surveys

The City monitors our native plants and animals every five years to compare how we are tracking against a baseline survey developed in 2011. Other projects such as Budding Birdos, Microbat tracking and Wildlife Watch supplement these surveys with additional data.

Between 2016 and 2018, we surveyed a  sample of  bush restoration sites and discovered:

  • 5 insectivorous bat species
  • a total of 76 birds, including 9 non-native species and s  (2016 and 2017)
  • 4 frog species and 11 reptile species (2018).

The City will complete the next formal surveys in 2021–2022.

Last updated: Monday, 22 June 2020