The state of the environment report, a review completed by scientists last year, paints a dire picture for Australia. The report found abrupt changes in Australian ecosystems since 2016, with at least 19 now showing signs of collapse or near collapse.
Australia’s environment is now officially recognised as being in a ‘poor and deteriorating’ state. Key drivers behind this degraded state are invasive species, habitat loss, land clearing, pollution, resource extraction and climate change.
Some of the key points from the report are:
- Since 2016, 202 more animal and plant species have been listed as threatened matters of national environmental significance
- Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent and has one of the highest rates of species decline in the developed world
- Almost half the country is now used for grazing and the areas committed to forestry and cropping have increased
- Changes in land use has resulted in Australia having the third largest loss of soil organic carbon, behind China and the US
- Australia has more foreign plant species than natives
- The biggest threat to Australia’s native animals is introduced species
- Another significant threat to Australia’s biodiversity is habitat loss and clearing
- Marine heatwaves have caused mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016, 2017 and 2020.
- Sea level rise has affected many low-lying areas
- There has been a continuously unacceptable rate of destruction of Indigenous heritage
- Most major Australian cities are growing faster than in any other developed country
The report notes that the current national strategies and investments have not matched how rapidly our environment is declining. Improving the state of the environment will require leadership across all levels of government, integrated management across federal, state and territory systems, greater financial investment, and improved monitoring and reporting.
Read the full report here: https://soe.dcceew.gov.au/
Check out the Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald articles for an overview of the report.