Australian Wetland Biodiversity
Many of our plants and animals are found nowhere else on the planet. The loss of biodiversity is Australia’s most serious environmental problem. It is happening at an alarming rate due to clearing of habitat for development and production, water extraction, feral animals, increased grazing pressure, altered fire regimes and now the effects of climate change. In the past 200 years Australia has cleared so much land and drained so many wetlands, that we have the world’s worst record for fauna extinction and over 100 species are now listed as threatened and endangered – 23% of mammals, 9% of birds, 5% of higher plants, 7% of reptiles, 16% of frogs and 9% of freshwater fish.
The extensive loss of native habitat is having major impacts on ecosystem functioning in many parts of Australia, particularly wetlands. This in turn is threatening the survival of our wetland wildlife. The scientific evidence is suggesting that Australia is on the cusp of another wave of mammal, bird, freshwater fish and frog extinctions.
Investing in our unique wetland wildlife
For wetlands, a reduction in biodiversity means there are fewer components to buffer the blows inflicted by drought, fire, introduced species and climate change. The plants and animals of Australia’s wetlands are unique and amazing, from birds that migrate from Russia and China to spend part of their life in the estuaries and coastlines of Australia, to rare plants that survive seemingly unpredictable wetting and drying periods.
WetlandCare Australia is working with the community, indigenous groups, government agencies, landholders and other stakeholders to protect and restore critical habitats to build resilience for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, high conservation aquatic ecosystems and endangered ecological communities. Together we are developing sustainable workable solutions to species conservation and management that do not hinder productivity, while conserving cultural heritage values. By highlighting the plight of flagship species we can tell the story for the many other plants and animals that share their habitats. Conserving these species means conserving many other species and ecological communities.
WetlandCare Australia’s 2015 conservation goals for protecting and conserving Australian Wetland Biodiversity
- Delivery of a best practice wetland management capacity building program for local government and other statutory decision makers across QLD and NSW, with an initial pilot program targeting 20 local government areas
- Wetland biodiversity recovery planning development and implementation at the landscape scale for priority subregions in South East QLD, Hunter Central Rivers and Southern Rivers regions in NSW
- Best management practice in biodiversity conservation for aquatic ecosystems and invasive aquatic species control adopted by 500 landholders and 50 community groups across 5,000ha of coastal private and public land in South East QLD and Hunter Central Rivers and Southern Rivers regions in NSW
- Reinstatement of natural hydrology in balance with sustainable floodplain management and urban stormwater management across 10,000ha in the Northern Rivers and Southern Rivers regions of NSW and the Burnett Mary and South East region of QLD
- Protection and improvement of key habitat requirements for our ‘ambassador’ species across coastal NSW and QLD
- Improvement of 2,000ha of habitat for migratory shore bird species through the mitigation of known key threats in roosting and foraging areas within the East Asian-Australasian flyway across coastal NSW and QLD
OUTCOME: Strategic and prioritised natural resource management investment in wetland biodiversity delivered at the regional scale ensuring best practice management of aquatic flora, fauna, habitats and connectivity.