The neglected 74% - the non-threatened vertebrates - and a reflection on the limitations of the process that fashioned the current schedules of threatened species in New South Wales
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Daniel Lunney, Alison Matthews, Hal Cogger, Chris Dickman, 2004. "The neglected 74% - the non-threatened vertebrates - and a reflection on the limitations of the process that fashioned the current schedules of threatened species in New South Wales", Threatened species legislation: Is it just an Act?, Pat Hutchings, Daniel Lunney, Chris Dickman
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In this chapter we apply an ecological approach to considering the vertebrate species listed on the current schedules of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. We do so in light of our knowledge of the threats that have impacted on the vertebrate fauna of NSW, but mainly as a reflection on our role as the Scientific Committee (1992-95) in formulating the schedules of threatened fauna under the Endangered Fauna (Interim Protection) Act 1991. We reflect on the limitations of this process, including constraints on time, a lack of adequate knowledge for most species and differences in expert opinion. The final 1992 list included 236 threatened vertebrate species, or 26% of the fauna of NSW. Threatened species have since been elevated by instruments of government and land-use decisions to such a degree that other species are apparently no longer of interest. Thus 74% of our vertebrate fauna has become neglected. Many species are missing out on research effort, and other conceptual approaches, such as threatening processes, are not given priority. In our opinion, the apparent immutability of the scheduled species is illogical given the uncertainty of the listing process, and we see a pressing need for a dynamic database of species status so that the schedules reflect new knowledge and changes in the status of species as they occur. Threatened species deserve special attention, but their relative importance in the wider conservation agenda needs re-examination if we are to fulfil the broader aims of conserving biodiversity.