26 September 2023

Animals’ data demand conservation action

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The University of Queensland (UQ) has released research data revealing that Australian animals are facing a future of habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation.

Co-author and PhD candidate at the UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Michelle Ward said the data which painted a grim picture for many plants and animals had been shared with the Federal and State Governments as well as conservation groups,

She said the findings were not all bad news.

“This information can improve the conservation of some of Australia’s most endangered plants and animals by providing conservation managers with more precise data to better direct their efforts,” Ms Ward said.

“It brings together knowledge from experts across Australia and it has a range of applications, not only to prioritise conservation work, but also to assess when developments might have significant impacts on species.”

She said the list included an in-depth analysis of almost 1,800 plants and animals listed as threatened under Australian Commonwealth law, including 1,339 plants and 456 animals.

“More accurate conservation efforts are now possible due to the ability to categorise and address these threats facing our at-risk species,” Ms Ward said.

“Looking at the data, conservation managers can see that mitigating habitat loss, invasive species and disease, while also improving fire regimes and curtailing the impact of climate change wherever possible, is crucial for curbing species decline.”

Co-author and Lecturer in AgroEcology from the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at UQ, April Reside said the Report showed in stark detail that some species faced extensive threats.

“Before now we didn’t have comprehensive information on the threats to these species and, more importantly, the severity of those threats,” Dr Reside said.

“For example, the swift parrot is facing 17 different threats including habitat loss from logging and agriculture, invasive weeds and the many and varying effects of climate change,” she said.

The 13-page Report, A national-scale dataset for threats impacting Australia’s imperiled flora and fauna, can be accessed at this PS News link.

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