Identifying high-priority areas in northern Australia for threat abatement and species recovery

Threat abatement and recovery planning, environmental impact assessment, and systematic conservation planning are among the processes inhibited by lack of information and explicit procedures to enable decision-making by the Australian Government, state and territory agencies, and Natural Resource Management bodies. Progress can be made by synthesising existing information from disparate sources, including the experience of experts, and using this information in a structured way to guide future management and development decisions.

The main activity of the project was to source data, expertise and methods to identify how to best fill gaps in knowledge of the spatial distributions of threatened ecosystems and species, and of their interactions with threatening processes, across northern Australia. The project consulted with diverse stakeholders and ran workshops to identify and scope a best practice approach.

A  ‘road map’ was created to develop a best-practice approach to modelling and mapping threatened species, and threat distributions to guide management actions across northern Australia to promote recovery of biodiversity.

A three-year project Prioritising Threatened Species in northern Australia is based on this research and runs from July 2016 to June 2019, led by James Cook University’s Associate Professor Jeremey VanderWal.

This research is applicable across the entire Northern Hub region.

Northern Hub research area map

Professor Bob Pressey (Project leader, James Cook University), Dr Jorge Álvarez-Romero (JCU), Associate Professor Samantha Setterfield (The University of Western Australia), Dr Alaric Fisher (Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources), Professor Dave Pannell (UWA), Dr Vanessa Adams (The University of Queensland), Associate Professor Mark Kennard (Griffith University), Professor Jeremy VanDerWal (JCU)