Conserving koalas: a review of the contrasting regional trends, outlooks and policy challenges

McAlpine, Clive, Lunney, Daniel, Melzer, Alistair, Menkhorst, Peter, Phillips, Stephen, Phalen, David, Ellis, William, Foley, William, Baxter, Greg, de Villiers, Deidre, Kavanagh, Rodney, Adams-Hosking, Christine, Todd, Charles, Whisson, Desley, Molsher, Robyn, Walter, Michele, Lawler, Ivan and Close, Robert (2015) Conserving koalas: a review of the contrasting regional trends, outlooks and policy challenges. Biological Conservation, 192 226-236. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.09.020

Author McAlpine, Clive
Lunney, Daniel
Melzer, Alistair
Menkhorst, Peter
Phillips, Stephen
Phalen, David
Ellis, William
Foley, William
Baxter, Greg
de Villiers, Deidre
Kavanagh, Rodney
Adams-Hosking, Christine
Todd, Charles
Whisson, Desley
Molsher, Robyn
Walter, Michele
Lawler, Ivan
Close, Robert
Title Conserving koalas: a review of the contrasting regional trends, outlooks and policy challenges
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2015-12-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.09.020
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 192
Start page 226
End page 236
Total pages 11
Place of publication Amsterdam Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), one of the world's most iconic faunal species, was recently listed under Australian government legislation as vulnerable in the northern states of Queensland and New South Wales and in the Australian Capital Territory, but not in the southern states of Victoria and South Australia. This review synthesises empirical evidence of regional koala population trends, their conservation outlook, and associated policy challenges. Population declines are common in the northern half of the koala's range, where habitat loss, hotter droughts, disease, dog attacks and vehicle collisions are the major threats. In contrast, some southern populations are locally overabundant and are now subject to managed declines. The koala presents the problem of managing a wide-ranging species that now primarily occurs in human-modified landscapes, some of which are rapidly urbanising or subject to large-scale agricultural and mining developments. Climate change is a major threat to both northern and southern populations. The implementation of policy to conserve remaining koala habitat and restore degraded habitat is critical to the success of koala conservation strategies, but habitat conservation alone will not resolve the issues of koala conservation. There needs to be concerted effort to reduce the incidence of dog attack and road-related mortality, disease prevalence and severity, and take into account new threats of climate change and mining. Many of the complex conservation and policy challenges identified here have broader significance for other species whose population trends, and the nature of the threatening processes, vary from region to region, and through time.
Keyword Implementation gap
Large-scale mining
Local extinction
Multiple interacting threats
Regional differences
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2016 Collection
Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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