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Latest IUCN reports that a quarter of eucalypt trees are threatened with extinction
A just-released update of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species reveals almost 25% of eucalypt species are threatened with extinction.
The IUCN report states that “of the 826 Eucalypts, comprising the Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora species groups, 812 occur only in Australia.
“As keystone species, they define the landscape of the entire Australian continent, and are culturally significant to its First Nations People.
“Eucalypts including the Vulnerable Eucalyptus moluccana are the sole food source for the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), which has declined significantly due to loss of Eucalypt habitat.
The IUCN reports that Eucalypts in Australia face threats from human use of land, especially agriculture and urbanisation resulting in “population declines of at least 30% for 134 eucalypts, such as the Endangered Rose Mallee (Eucalyptus rhodantha), which has declined by more than 50%. Mining also threatens some restricted range species, such as the Critically Endangered Eucalyptus purpurata.
Critical habitat for conservation now remains in the areas between rivers and land, on roadside patches and in paddocks where lone trees often remain.
Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. The list is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. The IUCN Red List is regarded as the most influential source of information for species conservation in the world and is used to inform and guide key national and international policy and on-the-ground conservation decisions
The World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature-Australia welcomed global attention being drawn by the IUCN Red List to the plight the eucalypt tree.
WWF-Australia Senior Manager Land Clearing and Restoration Dr Stuart Blanch noted “Deforestation and global heating are threatening the survival of eucalypts across Australia.”
“It’s not just individual eucalypt species at risk. Entire forest ecosystems dominated by eucalypts are endangered. Some have been cleared down to less than 10% - or even 5% - of their original extent.
“Australia only lists 76 eucalypt species as threatened while the IUCN lists 198 eucalypt species as threatened, suggesting the federal government should urgently re-assess the plight of these iconic trees.
Blanch added “The bushfires have scorched large areas of eucalypts and we hope those forests are still alive and can sprout new leaves.
“There’s hope for eucalypts and other tree species if we take the right action now. That’s why WWF has launched our bold new strategy – Towards Two Billion Trees – which shows how Australia can save and grow two billion trees by 2030.”
Professor David Bowman, who studies the impacts of climate change and fire on trees at the University of Tasmania, told Guardian Australia that while eucalypts were ubiquitous in Australia, they were also vulnerable advising “I’m not surprised by this assessment. We are talking here about old ecological systems that are being taken to the edge.
“Eucalypts are keystone species and are critical to a huge number of ecological systems. If you start taking them out, then there will be knock on effects because so many organisms – birds and insects – depend on them. There are a lot of warning signs out there, and this is another one.”
Image of Eucalypt Corymbia aparrerinja. Credit Ben Blanche
3rd November 2019 - Armidale residents donate water to save trees in drought affected park
24th October 2019 - City of Melbourne to progressively replace popular Plane Trees
13th October 2019 - Darwin set to plant 4000 trees to create green liveable spaces
17th September 2019 - Logan City Council takes action to protect endangered tree species
14th July 2019 - Cairns Regional Council initiative sees planting of 20,000 trees
12th May 2019 - Woodford Festival site benefits from planting of 100,000 trees
27th April 2019 - Sydney’s Bayside Council to plant 800 trees
20th February 2019 - Perth Zoo’s otter breeding program helps protect species against extinction
26th December 2018 - More than 50 Australian plant species face extinction within 10 years
7th September 2018 - Land clearance to cause Koala extinction in NSW by 2050
31st May 2018 - Brisbane City Council plants 2.5 million trees since 2007
17th April 2018 - Bilbies return to NSW National Parks after near 100-year extinction
17th April 2015 - Governments move to save Victoria’s Leadbeater’s possum from extinction
20th November 2014 - IUCN summit delivers major commitments to save Earth’s most precious natural areas
19th November 2014 - Criminal wildlife poaching driving endangered species to brink of extinction
9th September 2014 - Global Eco at IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
18th March 2010 - Tourists threaten ‘dingo extinction’ on Fraser Island
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