Australasian Plant Conservation
Originally published in Australasian Plant Conservation 17(2) August - September 2008, p 1
From the Editor
c/- Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Canberra. Email:
Most of this issue of Australasian Plant Conservation
(APC) is not light reading. However its content
focuses on an extremely important element of plant
conservation in Australia: the laws and associated
regulations for recognising threatened species and
ecological communities and listing them in categories
such as extinct, critically endangered, endangered,
vulnerable or rare.
These laws provide the major framework for protecting
threatened species and communities, usually through the
development of documents outlining the actions needed
both to aid their recovery and mitigate the processes
threatening them, and a requirement that they be
considered in environmental impact assessment
processes. For this reason alone, plant conservation
practitioners need to know not just what plants or
ecological communities are listed, but understand how
these decisions have been reached and what they mean.
Bob Makinson, with the help of numerous colleagues,
has compiled a directory of the national and state/territory
laws governing threatened plant species/community
listings. The directory is intended to make it easier
for people to know how each act operates, the listing
processes involved, the implications of listing, the limits
of each act and where to find more information (mostly
on the web) or who to contact in relevant agencies.
Like concepts of plant taxa and ecological communities,
threatened species legislation is an evolving concept.
Periodic reviews of the laws occur and some reviews
are currently in process or have been flagged. Each new
iteration of an act attempts to improve on earlier versions,
to address weaknesses, deficiencies or unintended
outcomes, and often builds on the experience of other
jurisdictions. This issue of APC facilitates comparison of
the different laws.
The laws are never without their critics - often they
are considered "too weak" or "too strong", depending
on the context. However robust debate about the laws
is a necessary and important element in their ongoing
evolution. To this end, this issue of APC includes articles
that assess the effectiveness of plant conservation laws in
one state and one territory: South Australia (Tim Jury) and
the ACT (Catherine Potter). Time precluded us getting
similar articles for other jurisdictions, but most profiles
contain references to recent analyses of the primary law
covered in the profile.
This issue of APC also contains articles about
information systems (Wendy Potts) and community
involvement (Phil Collier & Jenny Calder) in threatened
species conservation in Tasmania, and a summary of an
ecological community recently declared as nationally
threatened (John Vranjic).
Because of the size of this issue, some of the regular items
have been held over for APC 17(3). Even if you don't
read every word in this current issue, hopefully it will
prove a useful document, worth keeping handy for ready
reference about the primary laws relating to Australia's
threatened vegetation and flora.