Trends and biases in the listing and recovery planning for threatened species: an Australian case study

Walsh, Jessica C., Watson, James E. M., Bottrill, Madeleine C., Joseph, Liana N. and Possingham, Hugh P. (2013) Trends and biases in the listing and recovery planning for threatened species: an Australian case study. Oryx, 47 1: 134-143. doi:10.1017/S003060531100161X

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Author Walsh, Jessica C.
Watson, James E. M.
Bottrill, Madeleine C.
Joseph, Liana N.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Title Trends and biases in the listing and recovery planning for threatened species: an Australian case study
Journal name Oryx   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0030-6053
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S003060531100161X
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 47
Issue 1
Start page 134
End page 143
Total pages 10
Place of publication Cambridge,United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Abstract Much biodiversity lives on lands to which Indigenous people retain strong legal and management rights. However this is rarely quantified. Here we provide the first quantitative overview of the importance of Indigenous land for a critical and vulnerable part of biodiversity, threatened species, using the continent of Australia as a case study. We find that three quarters of Australia's 272 terrestrial or freshwater vertebrate species listed as threatened under national legislation have projected ranges that overlap Indigenous lands. On average this overlap represents 45% of the range of each threatened species while Indigenous land is 52% of the country. Hotspots where multiple threatened species ranges overlap occur predominantly in coastal Northern Australia. Our analysis quantifies the vast potential of Indigenous land in Australia for contributing to national level conservation goals, and identifies the main land management arrangements available to Indigenous people which may enable them to deliver those goals should they choose to do so.
Formatted abstract
Many countries rely on formal legislation to protect and plan for the recovery of threatened species. Even though the listing procedures in threatened species legislation are designed to be consistent for all species there is usually a bias in implementing the laws towards charismatic fauna and flora, which leads to uneven allocation of conservation efforts. However, the extent of bias in national threatened species lists is often unknown. Australia is a good example: the list of threatened species under the Environmental Protection and Biological Conservation Act has not been reviewed since 2000, when it was first introduced. We assessed how well this Act represents threatened species across taxonomic groups and threat status, and whether biases exist in the types of species with recovery plans. We found that birds, amphibians and mammals have high levels of threatened species (12-24%) but < 6% of all reptiles and plants and < 0.01% of invertebrates and fish are considered threatened. Similar taxonomic biases are present in the types of species with recovery plans. Although there have been recent improvements in the representation of threatened species with recovery plans across taxonomic groups, there are still major gaps between the predicted and listed numbers of threatened species. Because of biases in the listing and recovery planning processes many threatened species may receive little attention regardless of their potential for recovery: a lost opportunity to achieve the greatest conservation impact possible. The Environmental Protection and Biological Conservation Act in Australia needs reform to rectify these biases.
Keyword Australian conservation
Environmental Protection and Biological Conservation Act
Recovery plan
Species listing
Taxonomic group
Threatened species
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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