Relaxed laws imperil Australian wildlife

Euan G. Ritchie, Dale Nimmo, Corey JA Bradshaw, Mark Burgman, Jennifer K. Martin, Michael A. McCarthy, Kirsten M. Parris, Chris R. Dickman, Kris French, Richard J. Hobbs, Lesley Hughes, Christopher N. Johnson, Emma L Johnston, W. F. Laurance, David Lindenmayer, Ian Lunt, Sue McIntyre, Hugh Possingham, Robert L. Pressey, David WatsonJ. C.Z. Woinarski

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Policy and legislative changes by Australia's state governments are eroding the vital protection of the countryss unique biodiversity. Reserves are being opened up to ecologically disruptive activities, such as grazing by domestic livestock, logging, mining, recreational hunting and fishing, and commercial development. Protected habitats on private and leasehold land are imperilled too. Queensland and Victoria, for example, are relaxing hard-won laws that limit vegetation clearance on private land, further accelerating the loss of regional biodiversity. Collectively, these actions increase the pressure on biodiversity conservation in protected areas, many of which are already showing biodiversity loss (for example, the Kakadu National Park in northern Australia). Ecological connectivity is being lost, which will hamper the dispersal of species and their ability to respond to climate-change effects. Species extinctions are primed to increase. Too many of the country's unique fauna and flora have been wiped out over the past two centuries (see, for example, C. Johnson Australia's Mammal Extinctions; Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006), including the Christmas Island pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus murrayi) in 2009. There could be no worse time to weaken reserve protection and relax laws designed to reduce habitat loss.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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