This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.
Quantifying extinction risk and forecasting the number of impending Australian bird and mammal extinctions
A critical step towards reducing the incidence of extinction is to identify and rank the species at highest risk, while implementing protective measures to reduce the risk of extinction to such species. Existing global processes provide a graded categorisation of extinction risk. Here we seek to extend and complement those processes to focus more narrowly on the likelihood of extinction of the most imperilled Australian birds and mammals. We considered an extension of existing IUCN and NatureServe criteria, and used expert elicitation to rank the extinction risk to the most imperilled taxa assuming current management. Based on these assessments and using two additional approaches, we estimated the number of extinctions likely to occur in the next 20 years. The estimates of extinction risk derived from our tighter IUCN categorisations, NatureServe assessments and expert elicitation were poorly correlated, with little agreement among methods for which taxa were most in danger – highlighting the importance of integrating multiple approaches when considering extinction risk. Mapped distributions of the 20 most imperilled birds reveal that most are endemic to islands or occur in southern Australia. The 20 most imperilled mammals occur mostly in northern and central Australia. While there were some differences in the forecasted number of extinctions in the next 20 years among methods, all three approaches predict further species loss. Overall we estimate that another 10 Australian mammal and 13 Australian bird taxa will be extinct by 2038 unless management improves.
PC18006 Accepted 04 March 2018
© CSIRO 2018