Key threatening processes

Pests and weeds, climate change and habitat loss are some of the key threatening processes facing native plants and animals.

Fox, introduced species, pest and threat to native animalsA threat may be listed as a key threatening process under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 if it:

  • adversely affects threatened species, populations of a species or ecological communities
  • could cause species, populations of a species or ecological communities to become threatened.

Key threatening processes are managed under the Biodiversity Conservation Program or with threat abatement plans under the Saving our Species program.

List of Key Threatening Processes

Some key threatening processes that pose threats to native plants and animals in New South Wales

Climate change

Changes to rainfall or temperature can threaten the survival of native species or ecological communities. Climate change also interacts with other threatening processes like fire and weeds. In combination, these processes can significantly increase the risk of extinction of a threatened species.

Priority actions to address this key threatening process have been identified in Adapting to Climate Change.


The weedy pest lantana can aggressively invade areas, displacing native plants and animalsWeeds such as lantana and bitou bush can compete with native plants for resources such as light, nutrients and space.

Weeds can aggressively invade areas and push out native plants and animals. See more information about pests and weeds.

Pest animals

Introduced animals like the European rabbit and red fox can compete with native animals for habitat and/or prey on them.

These pest animals can also damage native plants and degrade natural habitats, increasing pressure on the survival of native animals.


Intense night time high flames fire with NPWS personnel silhouetted Windsor Downs Changes in fire patterns, such as an increase in the frequency of fire, can adversely affect or kill plants and animals.

Fire can also cause loss of habitat and change to vegetation structure or composition.


Exotic fungal infections, viruses and other pathogens can weaken and kill native species.

Find out more

Search for key threatening processes

Eastern bentwinged-bat (Miniopterus schreibersii)Perform a threatened biodiversity key word search to view profiles of threatened species, populations and ecological communities.


Biodiversity and Climate Change Online Tools

Eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus)These online tools provide users with access to information on local impacts of climate change on biodiversity.

Online Tools