What does it mean to be red hot? Australia's most imperilled plants and their recovery

Date: 08, May, 2019
Author(s):   Jennifer Silcock
Publisher: Wildlife Australia

To be eligible for the Red Hot list, a species must be rare, and declining from threats that we can feasibly overcome. This rules out most ‘narrow range endemics’ – naturally rare or restricted species, exemplified by trees or shrubs that grow only on a few mountain tops or rocky outcrops – for there are typically few threats in their often remote, inaccessible habitats. The majority (57%) of species I assessed have suffered massive declines from habitat destruction, usually for agriculture and sometimes urban development. Restricted to small remnants, often on roadsides or in rail reserves, they are susceptible to disturbance, weeds, disease, and chance events such as fire. The good news is that, where monitoring has been done, the populations of many species appear to be stable or even increasing. Conserving these species is often a matter of safeguarding their habitat and keeping an eye on them.