Australian Federal, State and Territory Governments all maintain lists of flora, fauna and ecological communities that are considered to be threatened with extinction. Follow the links below 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; ecological communities; endangered fish; critically endangered fish

Queensland

Nature Conservation Act

Flora and fauna: endangered; vulnerable; near threatened

Victoria

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act

Flora, fauna and ecological communities

Tasmania

Threatened Species Protection Act / Nature Conservation Act

Vertebrates; invertebrates; vascular; non-vascular; ecological communities

South Australia

National Parks and Wildlife Act

Flora and fauna: endangered; vulnerable; rare

Western Australia

Wildlife Conservation Act

Flora; fauna; ecological communities

Northern Territory

Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act

Flora and fauna

ACT

Nature Conservation Act

Flora, fauna and ecological communities

 

What We Do

In Australia, a total of 480 fauna and 1,295 flora species are listed as either Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable under Australia's national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

One of the most effective ways of preventing these species from becoming extinct is to protect their habitats, or ecological communities. Currently, over 70 of these 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. Communities under threat are nominated for listing under both the Commonwealth EPBC Act and New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1995 (TSC Act). With clear guidelines, workable processes and enforceable protection, these legislations are the most effective way to get permanent protection for habitat under threat.

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

How It Works

The Federal Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts manages the annual call for public nominations, where ecological communities are considered for protection as "matters of national environmental significance."

Such listings lead to extra protection for the many threatened species that use the ecological communities as habitat, as well as providing new protection to declining species that are not yet threatened but are under pressure.  In addition, the protection of Threatened Ecological Communities allows for the vital ecosystem services to be preserved to the benefit of all land users, such as carbon capture and storage or the reduction or control of dry land salinity and erosion. 

Threatened Ecological Communities are known to be complex to describe and differentiate, but they are a very efficient and effective tool for whole-of-system or landscape-scale protection of biodiversity, particularly in providing wildlife habitat (including unique habitats, critical refuges and corridors).Threatened Ecological Communities are often on land or water that is underrepresented in conservation tenure, but giving them legislative protection can also complement and provide wildlife connectivity with natural systems protected through other conservation measures such as the National Reserve System.  Although open to all members of the public, nominations are required to be scientifically rigorous and significant research must be undertaken for nominations to be prioritised for assessment by both the national and NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee, and to ultimately translate to effective protection vehicles for biodiversity.

Gippsland Red Gum, Grassy Woodland and Associated native (2009) - Critically Endangered

The Results of a Listing

The ultimate outcome of listing a Threatened Ecological Community is a positive push for the conservation and recovery of the plants, animals and other organisms that make up the 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 government is required to consider developing a recovery plan and to guard against detrimental impact to the ecological community. Any activity that may impact a listed 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. It is required for governments, in cooperation with private landholders, to develop protective management regimes in the area a Threatened Ecological Community is present. In other instances, Threatened Ecological Communities may eventually be protected under National Park status if the area is particularly biodiverse.

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

Our Contribution

HSI/WLT have made a number of very important nominations over the years which have been critical in building the national list of Threatened Ecological Communities and hence achieving significant conservation outcomes. We are responsible for nominating 27 of the 80 Threatened Ecological Communities currently listed under the EPBC Act, amounting to approximately 4.7 million hectares.

When we first launched our 'Million Acres' campaign in 1998, our aim was to secure the protection of at least that amount of habitat through Threatened Ecological Community listings under the EPBC and TSC Acts. We quickly passed this point and have now far exceeded the figure, and through our nomination program have secured protection for approximately 5,000,000 hectares of Australian grassland, woodland, shrubland, alpine and coastal habitat. Many more communities nominated by HSI/WLT await adjudication under both the Commonwealth and State laws.

Links

EPBC Act Listed Threatened Ecological Communities Nominated by HSI/WLT

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