Action needed to save Australia’s plants and animals •

A new study, conducted with the support of eight universities and seven Australian environmental organizations, has identified the continent’s most endangered plants and animals. This is the most comprehensive nationwide dataset describing threats to Australia’s flora and fauna.

Researchers have identified 1,339 species of plants and 456 species of animals that are listed as threatened under Australian Commonwealth law due to habitat loss, fragmentation, degradation, other species. invasive and disease. Of these, ten birds, seven mammals, twenty fish, six reptiles and one butterfly are likely to become extinct over the next two decades if no major conservation action is taken.

Some of these species face a wide variety of threats. The Swift Parrot, for example, faces as many as 17 different threats, including habitat loss from agricultural and logging processes, invasive weeds, and climate change. Likewise, koalas are severely affected by habitat loss due to urban development and agriculture, disease, dog attacks, and many other stressors.

The publication of this dataset in the journal Ecology and evolution is an important step forward in increasing efforts to save these endangered animals.

“Previously, we did not have complete information on the threats to these species and, more importantly, the severity of those threats,” said study co-author Dr April Reside. School of Agriculture and Food Sciences.

“More precise conservation efforts are now possible thanks to the ability to categorize and address the threats to our species at risk,” said lead author of the study, Michelle Ward, doctoral student at the ‘UQ. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“By looking at the data, conservation officials can see that mitigating habitat loss, invasive species and disease, while improving fire regimes and reducing the impact of climate change in the environment. wherever possible is crucial to halt the decline of species. “

The database has already been widely distributed to federal and state governments, as well as to conservation groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, BirdLife Australia, and the Nature conservation. In order to protect these many endangered plant and animal species, concerted action is urgently needed.

Through Andrei Ionescu, Editor-in-chief