Endangered species: what makes the list? | this curious life | Scoop.it

'In 1999, Robert Hill’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC Act) was enacted. One of its hard-fought provisions was that threatened species (and ecological communities) had to be considered as part of any development. Attached to the Act was a list of the species to be considered.


This original EPBC list was inherited from the former Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council. The Council created an amalgam of lists from the states and territories. Each list had a different level of skill and thoroughness in its making, and degree of sensitivity to local politics and special pleading.


Since then it has been managed by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, a group of eminent biologists from around the country with expertise in different animal and plant groups. They advise the minister on what should be listed and what not.


However, though the committee has put in long hours, it is a cumbersome process, dependent in large part on ad hoc public submissions. Changes since the original composition of the list have been few compared to the number needed. There are still errors from the original list that fail to reflect real extinction risk.


The result is that the EPBC list looks quite different to the lists of Australian threatened species developed under the guidelines of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Yet the IUCN Red List guidelines, refined over a 50 year period and applied globally, differ little from the criteria used for EPBC listing.............'