WWF Report Shows Australian Protected Areas Growing But Species Remain Threatened

A new WWF report suggests that despite a large rise in the number of nature parks in the country, over hundred Australian species that are on the brink of extinction remain unprotected. The Building Nature’s Safety Report shows significant growth in protected areas in Australia since 2002, however the habitat of 138 species that are threatened still fall outside of the safety net.

“A boost in funding over the past five years has seen tremendous progress in the expansion of Australia’s National Reserve System, growth that will make a huge difference to survival of native wildlife in the years to come. Unfortunately, we are still far from protecting the full range of Australian ecosystems, and there are still many threatened species whose habitats remain outside the safety net.” said the report’s author, Dr Martin Taylor.

WWF applauds the progress of New South Wales

WWF says it is very pleased by the progress made by a number of states including New South Wales in particular, which increased the amount of land under protection from 6.6 per cent of the state in 2002 to 9.2 per cent just ten years later. NSW has also increased its marine protected areas to 8.8 per cent from just 2.5 per cent ten years ago.

The report has raised awareness

Australia says 1,613 species that are threatened; however as we said earlier 138 species do not have habitats that are protected. The report goes on to add that the country has 5,815 land based ecosystems, of which 1,655 remain unprotected. The good news however is WWF has made state and federal governments aware of the issue and it is hoped that over time they will do something about this dreadful state of affairs.

Uneven conservation areas

Australia has committed by 2020 to turn at least 17 per cent of its land and 10 per cent of its marine areas into protected areas under the international Convention on Biological Diversity. With recent additions to Marine Reserves and Indigenous Protected Area, the National Reserve System now covers a significant percentage of Australia’s land and marine area, however the problem is that coverage is quite uneven.

Lots of work to do

What this essentially means is Australia has lots more work to do if it wants to meet the target. In order to hit target WWF estimates that another 25 million hectares of land will need to be added over the next half decade which will cost the Australian Government approximately $170 million a year. So long as organisations like WWF keep an eye on the progress being made and prods the government in the right direction, it is hoped that Australia will achieve its conservation goals with time to spare.

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