Biodiversity describes the variety of plant and animal life on the earth as a whole or in a particular habitat.

Bittern in flight

Maintaining good variety is important for protecting ecosystems - the dynamic and complex interactions between the different species of plants and animals and their environment.

The Broads is one of Europe's most important wetlands for biodiversity and nature conservation. Essentially it is a freshwater ecosystem made up of meandering rivers interconnecting beautiful expanses of shallow water - the broads themselves.

Swallowtail butterflyThe surrounding habitats include botanically rich fens, home to the rare swallowtail butterfly, Norfolk hawker dragonfly and the bittern. Wet woodlands, full of bird and invertebrate life, and grazing marshes with their unique aquatic plant and animal communities, make the Broads one of the most wildlife-rich areas in the family of national parks.

This fragile landscape has come under increasing pressure from a variety of sources in the last century including habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution of waterways and increasing threats from non-native species. Rising sea levels associated with climate change have also seen a decline in species and habitats.

Our work

We are a key partner in the Broads Biodiversity Group which provides a focal point for the delivery of nature conservation in the Broads. It is complemented by the Broads Biodiversity Forum which meets once a year to share issues, information and ideas leading to action for the group to follow up.

We are committed to halting and reversing this decline in species and habitats and the Broads Biodiversity Framework and Action Plan is our response to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Cover of action plan

The Framework describes the special habitats and species of the Broads, and offers a series of case studies of partnership conservation projects. The Action Plan sets out what work we need to do with partners to conserve and enhance the wildlife and habitats of the Broads for future generations.

It includes a potential habitat creation map which identifies possible new habitats according to their location and connectivity to semi-natural areas, designated sites, watercourses and the underlying peat resource.

Our work also involves the control of non-native species such as American Mink, Signal Crayfish and Himalayan Balsam. You can read more of the impact of these species on biodiversity on our non-native species page.

Useful links

Visit the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership and the Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership websites for more information on what is being done in the area.

If you are interested in helping the Broads protect its unique range of wildlife please visit our volunteering page.