Biodiversity threats managed by cost effective new framework

Scientists from the University of Western Australia have developed a framework for organisations wanting to mitigate biodiversity threats, in a way that costs out several existing threat management strategies.

Fire management performed with a drip torch to combat biodiversity threats
Fire management performed with a drip torch. Credit: Sarah Legge

Conservation organisations at regional, state and national levels in Australia will benefit from a new framework aimed at managing biodiversity threats. The framework, published in Journal of Applied Ecology, is more cost effective than some existing threat management strategies, and thus, researchers hope that the framework will be useful in stopping the extinction of threatened species.

Lead author Dr Chuanji Yong explains “Costs will always be at the centre of environmental decision-making. However until now, there has been no consistent way to estimate the resources needed to manage key biodiversity threats. Our project is more cost effective than 18 of the most important threat management strategies for saving Australia’s biodiversity.”

The framework can help organisations to budget for any biodiversity goals they want to achieve

Working with threat management experts, the team defined both the actions and costs required to manage several biodiversity threats. Existing cost records, for example, those from the NSW Saving Our Species program, provided the scientists with information about the financial aspects required for their new framework.

The study found that some threats are more expensive to manage than previously thought – with habitat restoration ultimately being the most costly action. The authors concluded that Australia needs to be more strategic about conservation investments, the country also needs to reconsider how to avoid impacts on biodiversity in the first place.

An australian rock landscape which could be in danger due to biodiversity threats
The authors say that Australia needs more strategy involved with conservation investments

Dr Josie Carwardine, co-leader of the project said “The cost of conservation is critical across all scales. Therefore the approach provides invaluable decision making information and can help people at any scale to realistically budget and plan for their biodiversity aspirations.”

This article has been adapted from a University of Western Australia press release.

Read the full paper here:

Yong, C.Ward, M.Watson, J. E. M.Reside, A. E.van Leeuwen, S.Legge, S.Geary, W. L.Lintermans, M.Kennard, M. J.Stuart, S., & Carwardine, J. (2023). The costs of managing key threats to Australia’s biodiversityJournal of Applied Ecology001– 13