Australia is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 84 per cent of plants, 83 per cent of mammals, and 45 per cent of birds are only found in Australia.
Changes to the landscape and native habitat as a result of human activity have put many of these unique species at risk. Over the last two hundred years many species of plants and animals have become extinct. For the other species of plants and animals whose survival is threatened, a range of management and conservation measures are in place.
Ecological communities are unique and naturally occurring groups of plants and animals. Their presence can be determined by factors such as soil type, position in the landscape, climate and water availability.
The Australian Government is working in partnership with state, territory and local governments, non-government organisations, tertiary institutions and community groups to ensure the protection of our native species.
Protecting threatened species and ecological communities
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the Australian Government's principal piece of environment legislation.
The EPBC Act protects Australia's native species and ecological communities by providing for:
- identification and listing of species and ecological communities as threatened
- development of conservation advice and recovery plans for listed species and ecological communities
- development of a register of critical habitat
- recognition of key threatening processes
- where appropriate, reducing the impacts of these processes through threat abatement plans and non-statutory threat abatement advices
Any person may nominate a native species, ecological community or threatening process for listing under the EPBC Act. For more information on threatened species, ecological communities and key threatening processes, or making a nomination read more about:
- nomination and listing process
- threatened species
- threatened ecological communities
- key threatening processes