Australia is one of only 12 'megadiverse' countries that together account for 75 per cent of the world's total biodiversity. Scientists estimate that the continent is home to more than one million plant and animal species. Many of these are found nowhere else on the planet.
Since Australia was colonised in 1788, some 125 plant and animal species or subspecies are known to have become extinct. More mammals have died out in Australia in the last 200 years than in any other continent. Today, more than 360 of our animal species and around 1240 species of plants are considered threatened.
OEH's priorities include conserving and protecting natural resources across NSW, including native animals and their environments in national parks and reserves, marine parks and aquatic reserves, as well as on private and other public land. Important support for this role is provided by OEH research into native animals and their environments.
All native species are protected by law in NSW. Threatened species are listed on the schedules of the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. The schedules are maintained by an independent Scientific Committee. Anyone can make a nomination to the Scientific Committee to add, remove or change the status of a species.
Find out more about the following native plant and animal topics
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Page last updated: 20 January 2015