Threat-abatement framework confirms habitat retention and invasive species management are critical to conserve Australia's threatened species

Stephen G. Kearney, James E.M. Watson, April E. Reside, Diana O. Fisher, Martine Maron, Tim S. Doherty, Sarah M. Legge, John C.Z. Woinarski, Stephen T. Garnett, Brendan A. Wintle, Euan G. Ritchie, Don A. Driscoll, David Lindenmayer, Vanessa M. Adams, Michelle S. Ward, Josie Carwardine

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Abstract

Earth's extinction crisis is escalating, and threat classification schemes are increasingly important for assessing the prominent drivers and threats causing species declines. However, a complementary framework for assessing the conservation responses needed to abate these threatening processes is lacking. Here we draw on expert knowledge and published literature to develop a threat-abatement framework which groups threats based on the shared conservation goal of the actions needed to abate their impact and apply it to 1532 threatened species across the Australian continent. Our analysis shows that the most important conservation actions across Australia are to retain and restore habitat, due to the threats posed by habitat destruction and degradation (via logging, mining, urbanisation, roads, and agriculture) to 86 % of Australia's threatened species. Most species also require the effective control of invasive species and diseases (82 %) and improved fire management (66 %). Countering individual threats will not be enough to support species survival or recovery, because almost all species (89 %) require multiple, integrated management responses to redress their threats. Our threat abatement framework enables rapid identification of broad conservation responses to aid recovery of threatened species and can be applied in other regions, scales and contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109833
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume277
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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