Biodiversity

Biodiversity continued to decline, with fire, drought and heat all impacting on ecosystems.

Another 40 species were added to Threatened Species List, representing a 2% increase from the previous year and a 36% increase from 2000.
A total of 1890 species is now listed. Conservation advice has been issued for 97% and recovery plans for 41% of species.

Nine species were down-listed, 33 added, seven up-listed and two declared extinct: the Bramble Cay Melomys and the WA flower Myriocephalus nudus.

The total number of species declared extinct rose to 91. Half of the six species extinctions recognised since 2000 occurred in the last two years.
Arid zone bird species such as the Crimson Chat migrated towards the Victorian coast in response to inland drought.

Spectacled flying foxes are an indicator of the condition of species vulnerable to heat stress. Populations declined 10% from previous year to around 47 thousand, down from an average 100 thousand before 2016.

Waterbird numbers showed a small increase from the previous year but remained lower than the long-term average. Breeding was concentrated at one site and species. Several significant wetlands in the Darling Basin were dry, including the Macquarie Marshes which was also impacted by fire.
Extensive bushfires in NSW in late 2019 and early 2020 impacted on biodiversity.
The bushfires killed an estimated 1 billion vertebrates and increased threat level for several species.

The fires burnt through more than 30% of the habitat of 191 species, among which many freshwater species.

Wet forest flora were especially impacted, but rare Wollemi pine and Nightcap Oak were spared.

source: Australia’s Environment in 2019 Summary Report (link)