Australia’s species extinction crisis in numbers: 2019

Garnett S. T., Butchart S. H. M., Baker G. B. et al. (2019) Metrics of progress in the understanding and management of threats to Australian birds. Conserv. Biol. 33, 456-468.

Aim: 
To develop and test standardised metrics to assess progress in research or management of threatened taxa, quantify needs for further action and effective threat alleviation, and provide the means to allocate resources to maximize the benefits of threat reduction to threatened taxa.
Type of Study: 
Research paper (develop and test the utility of standardised metrics by applying them to threatened Australian bird taxa).
Key Results: 
Across the 238 bird taxa that were threatened or near threatened in the last 25 years, 181 separate threats and 1847 threat-taxon combinations were identified. Of the 1847 threat-taxon combinations, no threat impact reduction was observed in 85% of cases. For 52% of threat-taxon combinations, research is providing strong direction for management, and management is underway for 43% of the combinations. Research needs were high for species with small ranges, mainland birds (compared to birds on islands), and passerines (compared to shorebirds). Research needs were lower for species listed as threatened under the EPBC Act. Invasive species (particularly cats and black rats) was the major threat class, with the highest scores for all need and achievement metrics. Urban development, agriculture, biological resource use, and natural system modification all had moderate scores and pollution and climate change or extreme weather measures high need scores. Overall, the highest density of threatened taxa is in seas of southern Australia, and the highest density of terrestrial threatened taxa are along the northern and eastern Australian coastlines. Few threatened Australian bird taxa have had all threats reduced to a stage where ongoing management is unnecessary, however there have also been some management successes (eradication of rats on islands ect.) and threat reduction has been achieved in over half of all taxa (55%).
Reviewer: 
Harry Moore
Full Reference: 
Garnett S. T., Butchart S. H. M., Baker G. B. et al. (2019) Metrics of progress in the understanding and management of threats to Australian birds. Conserv. Biol. 33, 456-468.