All Australian Federal, State and Territory Governments maintain a list of species and ecological communities threatened with extinction. These listed species and communities are prioritised for protection and recovery in order to maintain Australia’s rich biodiversity.

Australia’s biodiversity is steadily declining, with more than 1,700 species and ecological communities listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable under our national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Humane Society International has been involved with the listing and protection of threatened species and communities since its inception in 1994.

Along with nominating and advocating for the preservation of wildlife and habitats, HSI works to create, amend, and implement national and state environment laws. For more information about HSI's involvement with threatened species and ecological communities, read our publication Threatened here. 

Threatened Species

Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litorea aurea) (1996) - Vulnerable. Photo courtesy of Lance Jurd

Humane Society International has successfully achieved threatened listings for 73 native species for protection under Federal, State or Territory law. A full list of our successful nominations is included below.

In addition to a wide variety of marine species, HSI works to defend and expand protection for threatened habitats as well as imperilled species including dingoes and grey-headed flying-foxes.

In the fight to protect Australia’s unique wildlife, the Wildlife Land Trust program has been instrumental in enhancing and preserving habitat for a range of species, common and threatened alike.

The Wildlife Land Trust supports and provides recognition of the wildlife species and habitat protection efforts of hundreds of landowners over tens of thousands of hectares across Australia.

From Carnaby’s black-cockatoos in the west through to grey-headed flying-foxes along the east coast, mahogany gliders in the north, down to forty-spotted pardalotes at the foot of Tasmania, the presence of threatened species on WLT sanctuaries throughout the country highlights the importance of conservation efforts on private land in protecting habitat for the wildlife species that need it most.

 

Threatened Ecological Communities

One of the most effective ways of preventing native species from extinction is to protect their habitats, categorised in Australia as ecological communities. Currently, over 70 of Australia’s ecological communities are threatened, with 31 identified as Critically Endangered.

Processes such as land clearing, grazing by livestock and feral animals, weed invasion, salinity, and changes in water and fire regimes threaten these valuable ecosystems.

Humane Society International and the Wildlife Land Trust work hard to protect these habitats through the Threatened Ecological Communities nomination program. Our threatened ecological community listings provide protection for more than a third of the total federally listed, covering 28 separate communities and nearly 5,000,000 hectares of Australian grassland, woodland, shrubland, alpine and coastal habitat.  

Once listed, ecological communities are protected from inappropriate development and their recovery is prioritised – although HSI must remain ever vigilant to see that protection and recovery is achieved.

Threatened Ecological Communities are complex, but they are a very efficient and effective tool for landscape-scale protection of biodiversity, particularly in providing habitat for wildlife.

EPBC Act Listed Threatened Ecological Communities Nominated by HSI/WLT

HSI/WLT Nominated Threatened Ecological Communities in Assessment Stage (FPAL)

Coolibah-Black Box Woodlands of the Darling Riverine Plains and the Brigalow Belt South Bioregions (2011) - Critically Endangered

How It Works

Each year, the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment invites public nominations for species and communities which may be eligible for listing as threatened. The nomination is evaluated by a scientific committee and the Minister for Environment, and if approved will become a successful listing.

For ecological communities, such listings lead to umbrella protection for the many threatened species that use the communitiy as habitat, as well as providing new protection to declining species that are not yet threatened but are under pressure.

Eucalypt Woodlands of the Western Australian Woodbelt (2015) - Critically Endangered

The Results of a Listing

The ultimate outcome of a successful listing is a positive push for the conservation and recovery of the target species; or the plants, animals and other organisms that make up the ecological community. These listings provide national recognition and protection which in turn allows other decisions to be made to protect native plants, animals and ecosystems.

Following a listing, the federal or state government must consider a recovery plan and guard against detrimental impact to the species or ecological community. Any activity that may impact a listed species or ecological community under the EPBC Act, such as clearing vegetation or a nearby development, must first be assessed by the Federal Minister for the Environment. 

Follow the links below or click here to access the lists of threatened species and ecosystems across all Australian jurisdictions.

Jurisdiction

Legislation

Lists

Commonwealth

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

Flora; fauna; ecological communities

New South Wales

Threatened Species Conservation Act / Fisheries Management Act

Flora, fauna and ecological communities; endangered fish; critically endangered fish

Queensland

Nature Conservation Act

Flora; fauna

Victoria

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act

Flora, fauna and ecological communities; key threatening processes

Tasmania

Threatened Species Protection Act / Nature Conservation Act

Flora, fauna and ecological communities

South Australia

National Parks and Wildlife Act

endangered; vulnerable; rare

Western Australia

Wildlife Conservation Act

Flora; fauna; ecological communities

Northern Territory

Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act

Florafauna

ACT

Nature Conservation Act

Flora, fauna and ecological communities

 

Cover photo: Emu - Timothy Ball/iStock