New paper: Impact of 2019–2020 mega-fires on Australian fauna habitat


Ward M., Tulloch A. I. T., Radford J. Q., Williams B. A., Reside A. E., Macdonald S. L., Mayfield H. J., Maron M., Possingham H. P., Vine S. J., O’Connor J. L., Massingham E. J., Greenville A. C., Woinarski J. C. Z., Garnett S. T., Lintermans M., Scheele B. C., Carwardine J., Nimmo D. G., Lindenmayer D. B., Kooyman R. M., Simmonds J. S., Sonter L. J. & Watson J. E. M. (2020). Impact of 2019–2020 mega-fires on Australian fauna habitatNature Ecology & Evolution


Australia’s 2019–2020 mega-fires were exacerbated by drought, anthropogenic climate change and existing land-use management. Here, using a combination of remotely sensed data and species distribution models, we found these fires burnt ~97,000 km2 of vegetation across southern and eastern Australia, which is considered habitat for 832 species of native vertebrate fauna. Seventy taxa had a substantial proportion (>30%) of habitat impacted; 21 of these were already listed as threatened with extinction. To avoid further species declines, Australia must urgently reassess the extinction vulnerability of fire-impacted species and assist the recovery of populations in both burnt and unburnt areas. Population recovery requires multipronged strategies aimed at ameliorating current and fire-induced threats, including proactively protecting unburnt habitats.


Regenerating Eucalyptus woodland six months after the 2019/2020 bushfires in Morton National Park. Photo by Ayesha Tulloch



Bushfire devastation leaves almost 50 Australian native species at risk of becoming threatenedThe Guardian, Jul 2020.

Six million hectares of threatened species habitat up in smokeThe Conversation, Jan 2020.

Summer ‘mega-fires’ push more native animals towards extinctionSMH and Age, Jul 2020.

2019/20 bushfires could see 49 native species given threatened statusBendigo Advertiser, Jul 2020.

Summer ‘mega-fires’ push more native animals towards extinctionThe Age, Jul 2020.

The Terrible Consequences of Australia’s Uber-BushfiresWired, Jul 2020.

New report warns wildlife endangered after bushfires destroy habitatGeelong Advertiser, Jul 2020.

Die Bilanz der Feuerkatastrophe, Spiegel, Jul 2020.

Threatened species on brink since firesMirage News, Jul 2020.

Fauna extinction listings may jump 14 percent after 2019-20 firesUSYD News, Jul 2020.

Bushfires could mean rise in threatened native, Jul 2020.

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