National Threatened Species Day: A new era for conservation
Today marks National Threatened Species Day in Australia. It commemorates the death of the last thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, which died in Hobart Zoo on this day in 1936. Since that day, many other species in Australia and globally have joined the thylacine down the extinction pathway.
Biodiversity is declining at unprecedented rates. Scientists found that Australia has already overshot its biodiversity planetary boundary, meaning we have exceeded the biodiversity loss limit within which humanity could thrive. Biodiversity, or the variety of plant and animal life that supports our planet, is essential to human survival including economic prosperity, climate stability, global food security and wellbeing. Since living organisms interact in dynamic ecosystems, the disappearance of one species can have a far-reaching impact on the food chain. An estimated $44 trillion USD of economic value generation or half of the world’s GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature and biodiversity.
With the recently released State of Environment Report, the 2020 Samual Review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, the significance of biodiversity loss is finally coming into the spotlight.
What’s the current state of threatened species in Australia?
In Australia, biodiversity is declining and the number of threatened species is increasing. To be exact, the number of plant and animal species listed as threatened in June 2021 was 1,918, up from 1,774 in 2016.
Over 100 species have been declared extinct as a result of human activity. In the past 5 years alone, 53 species were added to the endangered list; 17 mammals, 17 birds, 19 frogs. Koala, Leadbeater’s possum, Gang-gang cockatoos and the Woorrentinta (northern hopping-mouse) are among those recently listed as endangered. Australia has lost more mammals species than any other continent.
More than a dozen ecosystems are showing signs of collapse, including the Snowy Alpine, Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania’s kelp forests.
Land clearing and climate change are the biggest drivers of biodiversity deterioration.
What needs to change?
The State of the Environment Report found that environmental management isn’t well coordinated and current management approaches need to be substantially improved.
Amplifying this problem, the 2020 Independent Review of the EPBC Act found that decision-makers don’t have access to best available data and information, rendering them unable to understand the likely impacts of conservation interventions.
The first draft of the UN Global Biodiversity Framework, to be finalised at the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference, calls for all businesses (public and private, large, medium and small) to assess and report on their dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, from local to global, and progressively reduce negative impacts, by at least half and increase positive impacts (Target 14).
We have 10 years left before complete global disruption from biodiversity loss. The urgency of this crisis is clear. To act before 2030, we need new, innovative tools for this crisis before we reach the point of no return. In order words, we cannot afford another day wasted.
Introducing a new era for conservation: Xylo Systems
Xylo Systems is a new biodiversity platform launching in October this year. This cutting-edge, cloud-based platform utilises artificial intelligence analytics to turbocharge conservation attempts. Undoubtedly, Xylo Systems will become the go-to platform for anyone to participate in the preservation of wildlife through management, funding, impact reduction and offsetting.
The extinction crisis is upon us and this innovative platform can help governments, conservation organisations and conservation practitioners track their impact. The tool will also be useful for development and mining companies who want to incorporate biodiversity in planning efforts, increasing profitability through increased sustainability. The platform enables any organisation to contribute to building and improving our ecosystems, from conservation data management and analytics all the way up through reporting and impact tracking.
The technology we have today can ensure that no other species will face the same fate as Australia’s Thylacine.
Want to learn more? Xylo Systems will be hosting a free live demonstration of the platform on Thursday 6th October at 12pm. This event offers an exclusive opportunity for those interested in preserving biodiversity using technology, and it's limited space so sign up now: