Action Plan for Australia's Imperilled Plants 2021

Date: 23, Mar, 2021
Author(s):   J. Silcock, T. Collingwood, T. Llorens, R. Fensham
Publisher: TSR Hub

The Australian flora is distinctive, with more than 90% of its >22,500 native vascular plant species occurring nowhere else in the world (Chapman 2009; Fensham and Laffineur 2019). This assessment (Silcock and Fensham 2018), together with a re-assessment of extinction likelihood for presumed extinct taxa (Silcock et al. 2020), highlights that the Australian flora has fared relatively well despite the upheavals of European land management, in stark contrast to its fauna (Woinarski et al. 2019). Only 12 taxa are assessed as being probably extinct (Table 1), and a further 21 possibly extinct. The remaining 71 taxa currently presumed extinct have dubious taxonomy or occurrence in Australia, or are possibly extant and require further surveys to ascertain their status (Silcock et al. 2020). However the first continental analysis of trends of Australian threatened plants, combining data from 112 species at 600 sites, suggests that threatened plant populations have declined by almost three-quarters on average in two decades — much higher than that recorded for birds or mammals (Threatened Species Index 2020). This suggests that numerous plant species may be declining towards extinction.