National prioritisation of Australian plants affected by the 2019-2020 bushfire season
The Final National prioritisation of Australian plants affected by the 2019-20 bushfire season, released on 13 October 2020, updates the Interim Assessment released by the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel on 23 April 2020. The Interim Assessment identified 471 plant species identified as the highest priorities for urgent management intervention to support recovery from the 2019-20 bushfires.
The revised list now includes 486 species prioritised as requiring immediate action to assess impacts and support recovery. The assessment is based on a suite of 11 prioritisation criteria applied across 26,062 plant taxa. Of these 486 high priority species, 369 appeared on the Interim Assessment, 117 have been added and 102 have been removed. These changes in species identified as high priority are due to the inclusion of more taxa in the assessment, new trait data and refined threat information relative to the Interim Assessment. Taxa which are no longer included as high priorities are still considered to be impacted, but to a lesser degree than those that met the prioritisation criteria based on the updated trait and threat information.
The plants span a variety of vegetation types and include rainforest trees and shrubs like Monga Waratah (Telopea mongaensis) and plants from subalpine vegetation, such as the nationally listed Critically Endangered Bredbo Gentiana (Gentiana bredboensis).
Some species like the Forrester’s Bottlebrush (Callistemon forresterae), Betka Bottlebrush (Callistemon kenmorrisonii), and Grey Deua Pomaderris (Pomaderris gilmourii var. cana) were considered threatened before the fires, and the fires have now likely increased their risk of extinction. Many other fire-affected plant species were considered secure before the fires, but have now been burnt across much of their range and are exposed to other stressors (such as drought, high fire frequency or severity, or disease) and therefore may lack an ability to recover without support.
The research was prepared by Dr Rachael Gallagher, Macquarie University, with grateful assistance from Expert Panel members, the Department, state government agencies, and plant researchers from various institutions. The development of the prioritisation criteria was led by Tony Auld (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment). The Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel reviewed and refined the approach and delivery of this research.
Final National prioritisation of Australian plants affected by the 2019-2020 bushfire season (PDF – 2.71 MB)
Final National prioritisation of Australian plants affected by the 2019-2020 bushfire season (DOCX – 2.48 MB)
Superseded list of 471 species identified as high priority for urgent management intervention (released on 23 April 2020)
Summary of the provisional list of plants requiring urgent management intervention (PDF – 350.32 KB)
Summary of the provisional list of plants requiring urgent management intervention (DOCX – 81.06 KB)