Australia has more than 8300 islands, ranging in size from Tasmania to small rock stacks. These islands play a vital and unique role in the conservation of Australia’s native plants and animals.
Many island species are found nowhere else. In some cases islands are the last refuge for species extinct on the Australian mainland. For marine turtles and seabirds, islands are essential to their existence. The conservation of Australia’s islands is therefore an essential part of protecting Australia’s natural heritage.
Island environments are especially at risk from invasive species – from the rats that arrived with the early settlers to the invasive ants that have more recently slipped through our quarantine system. Invasive species pose a threat to unique island species and ecosystems, reduce the ability of island environments to withstand the effects of climate change, and often make life annoying or miserable for island people.
Islands are critical habitat for around one-third of Australia’s threatened animal species.
Fortunately the tools and techniques needed to eradicate or control invasive species and to prevent their spread are available. They have been successfully used hundreds of times in Australia and around the world. Removing the threat of invasive species on islands is a unique opportunity to prevent the extinction of many species and restore healthy island ecosystems.
Through an innovative partnership between the Invasive Species Council and Island Conservation we intend to accelerate action on invasive species to protect our precious island environments in Australia and the South West Pacific. By combining our skills and expertise we are seeking a safer future for our island life.
Together we are working to:
- Partner with island communities to prevent, control and eradicate invasive species.
- Stop new invasive species from becoming established on islands.
- Promote research into the cost-effective control and eradication of invasive species on Australian islands.
- Establish a more strategic approach to Australian island conservation.