Action to reverse the trend: NSW biodiversity outlook report

Updated data has provided further evidence that biodiversity is in decline across New South Wales, and urgent action is needed to prevent half our threatened species becoming extinct in the next 100 years.

A tight group of emus standing in a field of yellow flowers

The NSW biodiversity outlook report 2024 covers a large range of indicators from 2007 to 2023, to give a representation of the status and trends of biodiversity across New South Wales. This is the second biodiversity outlook report – the first was published in 2020.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Loss of habitat is the key driver of biodiversity loss.
  • Only 50% of listed threatened species are expected to survive in 100 years.
  • Past habitat loss and future climate change will also impact the capacity of landscapes to retain biodiversity in 50 years.
  • The capacity of habitat to support native species declined to 29% in 2020.
  • There are more than 300 invasive weeds and 36 pest animal species across New South Wales, with red foxes and feral cats observed in almost every bioregion.
  • Clearing of native vegetation remains higher than during 2009 to 2017.
  • Warming climate will see more frequent and intense fires and will disrupt species dependencies across ecosystems.

It is not all bad news. The area of land permanently secured for conservation in New South Wales has grown to 11%, and various programs are working well to protect species and ecosystems, including pest eradication on NSW islands which is leading to the return of nesting shore birds and the nutrient cycle they support.

The projections in the biodiversity outlook report do not include the potential impacts of management programs, such as Saving our Species.

In just over 12 months, the NSW Government has taken a range of steps to halt the decline in biodiversity, including:

  • Passed the Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Act and made meeting our emissions reduction targets a government priority.
  • Committed $172 million to saving koalas – including $80 million for a Great Koala National Park and $88 million to protect and support Sydney's koalas.
  • Protected more than 33,000 hectares under private land conservation agreements.
  • Added more than 480,000 hectares to the National Park footprint in New South Wales.
  • Reintroduced locally extinct animals in predator free zones and national parks, including platypus in the Royal National Park where they had been missing for 50 years.
  • Delivered the biggest boost to environmental protection laws in more than 30 years.
  • Progressed biodiversity law reform in response to Ken Henry's review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act.
  • Supporting native plants and animals by introducing effective control of wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park.
  • Maintained record levels of feral animal control in our national parks.

Data for the report is drawn from the Biodiversity Indicator Program which assesses the status and trends of biodiversity over time by considering a range of indicators.

'Biodiversity' refers to the variety of all living things and is fundamental to the well-being of humans and other species.

Maintaining biodiversity is also critical to the survival of regional economies. It provides economic benefits through agriculture, pharmaceuticals and tourism, and cultural value by enriching our experiences and connections to nature.

The NSW biodiversity outlook report 2024 is available online.

Quote attributable to Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe:

'Worryingly, this report confirms biodiversity is in decline and getting worse. Our species and the ecosystems they live in are facing serious threats including habitat loss, invasive species and climate change.

'The NSW Government is working hard to turn this around.

'We are committed to fixing biodiversity offsets and stopping runaway land clearing. We have adopted a whole-of-government approach to tackling climate change and we have boosted environmental protections to their strongest level yet. And we continue to expand protected areas to conserve crucial habitat.'


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