Spending to save: What will it cost to halt Australia's extinction crisis?

Brendan A. Wintle, Natasha C.R. Cadenhead, Rachel A. Morgain, Sarah M. Legge, Sarah A. Bekessy, Matthew Cantele, Hugh P. Possingham, James E.M. Watson, Martine Maron, David A. Keith, Stephen T. Garnett, John C.Z. Woinarski, David B. Lindenmayer

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As with most governments worldwide, Australian governments list threatened species and proffer commitments to recovering them. Yet most of Australia's imperiled species continue to decline or go extinct and a contributing cause is inadequate investment in conservation management. However, this has been difficult to evaluate because the extent of funding committed to such recovery in Australia, like in many nations, is opaque. Here, by collating disparate published budget figures of Australian governments, we show that annual spending on targeted threatened species recovery is around U.S.$92m (AU$122m) which is around one tenth of that spent by the U.S. endangered species recovery program, and about 15% of what is needed to avoid extinctions and recover threatened species. Our approach to estimating funding needs for species recovery could be applied in any jurisdiction and could be scaled up to calculate what is needed to achieve international goals for ending the species extinction crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12682
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number6
Early online date6 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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