COUNCIL has committed to protect more than 500 hectares of land with known koala habitat, entering into a conservation agreement with the State Government to protect and manage 15 council-owned reserves as nature refuges.
The reserves are located from Glasshouse Mountains to Pomona and were gazetted as part of the Koala Nature Refuge program.
Most of the reserves have been purchased over time through council's Environment Levy Program, in recognition of their environmental values.
Environment portfolio councillor Tony Wellington said the commitment would help protect habitat for significant plant and animal species, and preserve environmentally valuable land.
"Protecting the region's natural habitat areas is one of the key actions identified in the Sunshine Coast Biodiversity Strategy 2012-20," Cr Wellington said.
"This recent gazettal marks a major milestone for the ongoing management and protection of our environment.
"The 15 reserves are home to numerous endangered, vulnerable or near-threatened plants and animals, and all the reserves provide suitable habitat for koalas.
"Four of the new refuges are also adjacent to national parks or state forests, providing even greater conservation outcomes."
The properties are eligible to apply for funding assistance for on-ground management through the state Nature Assist program.
Council will continue to work with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to identify suitable reserves to nominate for Nature Refuge protection.