Threatened species explained

Each one of Queensland's native plant and animal species is a unique and valuable part of the state’s rich biodiversity.

Some species are declining in numbers and are at risk of extinction due to a range of threatening processes. As at 30 April 2021, there were 1020 threatened species (236 animals and 784 plants) listed as threatened under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992. A significant number of these species are listed as threatened nationally under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

(1) granite boronia, Photo Queensland Government (2) northern bettong, Photo Queensland Government (3) Richmond birdwing butterfly.

What is a threatened species

A threatened species is any plant or animal species that is at risk of extinction. Threatened species are allocated to different wildlife classes depending on the degree of risk of their extinction.

Why species become threatened

There are many threats that impact on species and contribute to their risk of extinction. Threats can be human-induced such as clearing of habitat, pollution, overharvesting, introduced species, or random natural events such as cyclones, floods, droughts, fire.

scientific review of the impacts of land clearing on threatened species in Queensland 2017 (PDF, 11.8 MB) , provides evidence that land clearing causes species extinction and habitat loss, exacerbates other threatening processes, and reduces the resilience of threatened species to survive future challenges such as climate change.

Find out more about the threats impacting on native species.

Threatened species conservation classes

Threatened species are allocated to different wildlife classes depending on the degree of risk of their extinction. These classes are based on a number of criteria including trends in population size, health and distribution.

In Queensland the following wildlife classes are listed in the Nature Conservation Act 1992:

Species can also be classed as Near Threatened, if they are at risk of becoming threatened in the near future.

Species that are threatened

The Nature Conservation (Plants) Regulation 2020 and the Nature Conservation (Animals) Regulation 2020 lists species that are classed as threatened in Queensland.

The Threatened Species Listing report provides detailed information on threatened species in Queensland, which is updated monthly. It includes:

  • a full list of threatened species in Queensland
  • number of threatened species by wildlife class for each year between 2007 and 2020 (when the list of threatened species was amended).

The report can be searched by wildlife class as well as the species’ common name, scientific name and group.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999 (EPBC Act) lists species that are threatened nationally.

Find out more about nationally threatened species in the Species Profile and Threats Database.

What is being done to help threatened species

Queensland’s Threatened Species Program (PDF, 1.4 MB) provides the framework for helping conserve Queensland’s most vulnerable flora and fauna species.

It aims to deliver coordinated actions to identify, protect and recover threatened species across our terrestrial and aquatic environments and mitigate the threatening processes that impact them.

It is designed to meet the Queensland Government’s responsibilities and obligations to manage and conserve threatened species including those under Queensland and Commonwealth legislation and international agreements.

By adopting a strategic, integrated and coordinated approach to planning and implementing recovery activities across the sector, this program will help deliver increased outcomes for threatened species and their habitats.

The Threatened Species Program is underpinned by five key focus areas that will guide Queensland Government implementation and actions.

  1. Legislation, policy and governance
  2. Planning and management
  3. Science and knowledge
  4. Connect and communicate
  5. Monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement framework.

Other ways threatened species are being helped by the Queensland Government include:

Changes and additions to species conservation classes

The department co-ordinates the process for species to be listed as threatened under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. The Species Technical Committee (STC) assesses species listing nominations submitted by members of the public, external and government scientists.

Read more about listing and changing the conservation class of species including how to nominate a species.

Research priorities and opportunities for Queensland threatened species and conservation estate

The department administers a range of key environmental protection legislation and uses leading-edge science to guide and prioritise its management responses to improve conservation outcomes.

The diversity and geographical spread of the state’s threatened species and the pervasive nature of threatening processes such as habitat loss, climate change and invasive pest species present significant challenges to conserving Queensland’s biodiversity.

The department meets these challenges by prioritising research, investment and actions and by partnering with researchers, First Nation’s people, industry, community and Commonwealth and local government agencies to enhance on-ground management.

By working in conjunction with Queensland’s science and research community, the department aims to further enhance our knowledge and use evidence-based decision making to deliver improved conservation outcomes for both the estate and threatened species.

The department has developed a research prospectus (PDF, 733 KB) to identify the opportunities to address research priorities, and to facilitate collaborative projects and partnerships for improved management outcomes for threatened species and conservation estate.

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