Loss of terrestrial biodiversity in Australia: Magnitude, causation, and response

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Abstract

Australia's biota is species rich, with high rates of endemism. This natural legacy has rapidly diminished since European colonization. The impacts of invasive species, habitat loss, altered fire regimes, and changed water flows are now compounded by climate change, particularly through extreme drought, heat, wildfire, and flooding. Extinction rates, already far exceeding the global average for mammals, are predicted to escalate across all taxa, and ecosystems are collapsing. These losses are symptomatic of shortcomings in resourcing, law, policy, and management. Informed by examples of advances in conservation practice from invasive species control, Indigenous land management, and citizen science, we describe interventions needed to enhance future resilience. Many characteristics of Australian biodiversity loss are globally relevant, with recovery requiring society to reframe its relationship with the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-631
Number of pages10
JournalScience (New York, N.Y.)
Volume381
Issue number6658
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

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