Catalog Home Page

A review of current ideas of the extinction, conservation and management of Australia's terrestrial vertebrate fauna

Recher, H.F. and Lim, L. (1990) A review of current ideas of the extinction, conservation and management of Australia's terrestrial vertebrate fauna. In: Saunders, D.A., Hopkins, A.J.M. and How, R.A., (eds.) Australian ecosystems : 200 years of utilization, degradation and reconstruction : proceedings of a symposium held in Geraldton, Western Australia. Surrey Beatty & Sons for the Ecological Society of Australia, Chipping Norton, N.S.W., Australia, pp. 287-301.

Abstract

Of Australia's 1600 species of terrestrial vertebrates, nearly 300 are endangered, and 17 mammals, 3 birds, and 1 species of lizard have become extinct since European settlement in 1788. Extinction rates and the decline in the distribution and abundance of species has been greatest in the drier regions of the continent and where European settlement first occurred. Declines in the terrestrial vertebrate fauna have resulted from a combination of factors including habitat modification and fragmentation, over-exploitation, exotic diseases, pesticides, competition with introduced herbivores, and predation by foreign predators. As well as continued losses of mammal species, it is predicted that there will be an accelerating loss of avian species paralleling the losses in the mammal fauna which occurred in Australia's pastoral and agricultural areas from 1900 onwards. Declines in the abundance of reptiles and amphibians are expected to follow a similar pattern to birds and mammals. While the dedication of reserves which meet the minimum population size requirements of species and the control of feral animals are important in reducing the rate of loss of critical ecosystems and their associated fauna, conservation of Australia's terrestrial vertebrates depends on significant changes in land management practices. Clearing of native vegetation, prescription or hazard reduction burning, and grazing by domestic stock are among the practices which should cease or be better managed.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Surrey Beatty & Sons for the Ecological Society of Australia
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/28067
Item Control Page Item Control Page