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A workshop with 32 invited participants from most Australian state s and territories was held to assess the appropriateness of the criteria being employed under the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Specific problems were identified with applying these and similar criteria (such as those used by IUCN) to invertebrates. Of particular concern was the difficulty of assessing effective population size or the number of individuals. While it was considered impossible to produce guidelines that cover all taxa or environments, it was agree d that the same basic criteria should apply to both terrestrial and aquatic taxa, although the details may differ. Ideally, habitats or communities should be listed, where appropriate , in preference to individual species but there are practical difficulties with their delineation and definition. Invertebrates should not be treated differently from other organisms in terms of assessment and conservation priorities, nor should any one group of invertebrates be given priority unless justified by the application of appropriate criteria for management or other practical purposes. The lack of a formal description should not be an impediment to nominating species. Listing some taxa at the population level may also be appropriate and even promote community involvement in conservation. Threatening processes are generally similar to those that impact on vertebrates and vascular plants but may differ in terms of scale. Some current conservation strategies need to be reassessed as to their appropriateness for invertebrates and their assumptions of surrogacy. There is little evidence to suggest that surrogates can be reliably used in invertebrate conservation, although well-targeted surrogates may sometimes be usefully employed to assess particular subsets of the invertebrate fauna. Education and public awareness were considered to be essential to the success of invertebrate conservation. Appendices summarize the Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation and a summary is given of a recent overview of non-marine invertebrates.

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