Conservation genetics of eastern Australian herpetofauna in a rapidly changing landscape: A perspective on conservation management and policy implementation

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Abstract

Over the last 200 years Australia has seen wide-scale habitat losses and land-clearing but in the last two decades the rate of loss has been accelerating dramatically, with intensification of land clearing and unprecedented urban growth around most of our major cities. It is within this framework of such rapid change that I have been undertaking conservation genetic research of lizards and frogs over the last 15 years. Here I reflect on the impacts of two rapidly changing landscapes that I have documented through my research. First, the profound impact of land clearing and shifting agricultural practices from mixed-cropping farms to vast broadacre monocultures on the grassland earless dragons of the Condamine River floodplains in south-eastern Queensland. Second, the rapid expansion of the Melbourne urban growth boundaries and how planning processes can impact the future survival of lizard and frog species within an urban environment. Both these cases highlight the impacts of rapid landscape change and emphasise the need for appropriate regulation and planning. Recommendations to slow the detrimental decline and potential extinction of these species include tighter land-clearing regulations and compliance monitoring, plus funding and integration of high-quality research into planning policy at early strategic stages. However, it is also vital that as conservation researchers we effectively communicate to the wider community our knowledge of the impacts that these landscape changes are having on our native flora and fauna.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalPacific Conservation Biology
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • agriculture
  • Delma impar
  • habitat fragmentation
  • land-clearing
  • Litoria raniformis
  • Queensland
  • threatened species
  • Tympanocryptis condaminensis
  • urban growth corridors
  • urbanisation
  • Victoria

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