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Biodiversity key to a thriving northern Australia

Far North Queensland is home to over 500 threatened plant and animal species and we need to act fast to save them from extinction.  

That’s the blunt message from the North Queensland Natural Resource Management Alliance (NQ NRM Alliance) Chair Dr Keith Noble on International Day for Biological Diversity – 22 May 2020.

NQ NRM Alliance members, Terrain Natural Resource Management, Cape York Natural Resource Management and Northern Gulf Resource Management Group are currently working on understanding and protecting threatened species including littoral vine forest and Ant Plants, the Southern Cassowary, Golden–shouldered parrots and Mahogany gliders.

'Member organisations are working closely with land managers, Threatened Species Recovery teams and Traditional Owners to restore and protect habitat for threatened species as well as to better manage key threats such as wildfires and invasive pest animal and plant species,' Dr Noble said.

'Far North Queensland, home to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, is recognised internationally for its ecological significance and attracts tourists from all over the world. It has immense cultural significance and continued connection to Traditional Owners, and supports rich and diverse agriculture. The natural environment sustains our economies and our livelihoods, and we all have a responsibility to look after it.

'Society is dependent on thriving natural resources, and when species become extinct, we risk the collapse of whole ecosystems. It might seem an overwhelming task, but together, we can deliver real change. Local knowledge combined with science is a powerful resource, and we encourage locals to get involved,' he said.

Dr Noble said this year’s Biological Diversity Day was a sobering reminder of our impact on the natural environment. It follows a submission by NQ NRM Alliance to the Australian Government’s review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

'Australia has the most significant documented decline in biodiversity of any continent over the past 200 years. One hundred species of Australian animals and nearly one hundred plant species are listed as extinct. Our rate of species decline continues to be among the world’s highest, and is the highest in the OECD, but we can change this trajectory,' he said.

'Australia is home to three-quarters of a million species, and over 80 per cent of these plants and animals and nearly half our birds are found only in Australia.rters of a million species, and over 80 per cent of these plants and animals and nearly half our birds are found only in Australia.

'We have a responsibility to protect our natural heritage.'

These projects are supported by Terrain NRM, Cape York NRM and Northern Gulf RMG, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

About the NQ NRM Alliance

The NQ NRM Alliance represents Far North Queensland’s three natural resource management bodies - Cape York NRM, Terrain NRM, and Northern Gulf Resource Management Group and their joint corporate services provider, Corporate Nature.

Natural Resource Management bodies work with their communities to deliver whole-of-landscape solutions that work for farmers, conservation, and the people who live in these landscapes.

Image courtesy Jeff Larson