As at February 2020, there are 84 ecological communities listed as threatened under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. They represent many of Australia’s most threatened ecosystems. Some of our most threatened ecological communities are already struggling with a range of threats, and recent widespread fires have put them at further risk of degradation through loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function. These include some of the more remote, intact, highest condition and/or connected wildlife refuges.
Initial list of Threatened Ecological Communities potentially affected by the 2019-20 bushfires
On 19 February 2020, the Department released an initial list of threatened ecological communities (TECs) which had some of their estimated distribution in areas affected by bushfires in southern and eastern Australia between 1 July 2019 and 11 February 2020. These preliminary results identified 37 of the 84 nationally listed TECs as potentially affected and highlighted 7 of greatest initial concern and the highest priorities for further investigation.
Threatened Ecological Communities identified as priority matters
The Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel (the Expert Panel) identified 19 of the 37 TECs as priority matters for funding in Tranche 1 of the Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program.
List of priority TECs for Tranche 1 of the Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program (PDF - 24.54 KB)
List of priority TECs for Tranche 1 of the Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program (DOCX - 30.51 KB)
Threatened Ecological Communities as priorities for management intervention in fire affected NRM regions
Since the initial analysis in February 2020, more detailed TEC mapping and consideration of regional-scale impacts has been undertaken by the Department. Many TECs occur as remnants across a wide range and impacts of the 2019-2020 fires on these TECs do not necessarily affect the entire range, but potentially impact a significant proportion of important local occurrences in some areas. This analysis has identified 25 of the 37 as a priority for management intervention in at least one fire affected NRM region.
Summary of threats and actions for Threatened Ecological Communities
The Expert Panel and the Department further requested an independent assessment from ecological community experts of the relevant threats, impacts and priority actions for ecological communities affected by the 2019‑20 bushfires. Initial results from this work, led by Professor David Keith from the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of NSW, in collaboration with other ecological community experts from across the country, has identified the fire-related threats and candidate management actions for the nationally-listed ecological communities that were identified as being of potential concern; and a list of the state/territory recognised ecological communities (or equivalent entities) that are likely to have been most affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires. Information on the fire-related threats and candidate management actions for these state/territory ecological communities will be released when this work is completed.