Outstanding Terrestrial Vertebrate Faunal Diversity in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, New South Wales

Judy Smith, Peter Smith

Abstract


We have compiled a comprehensive account of the native terrestrial vertebrate fauna of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. A total of 432 species has been reliably recorded within the area since European settlement, including 68 mammal, 254 bird, 74 reptile and 36 frog species. At least five species are represented by more than one subspecies. There have been losses: one mammal species is now totally extinct and eight others appear to be extinct in the World Heritage Area. Seventy-three species are currently listed as threatened under NSW and Commonwealth legislation, including 28 mammal, 34 bird, 4 reptile and 7 frog species. It is still a rich and diverse fauna of international significance, but it is a fauna under threat, a situation made worse by the bushfires of 2019-20, which burnt a globally unprecedented proportion of Australia’s temperate forests, including 75% of the World Heritage Area. There is much to be done to support the recovery of the region’s biodiversity after the fires. This should include an increase in land management staff and resources and the establishment of a systematic, comprehensive, long-term biodiversity monitoring program as a basis for effective adaptive management practices in these uncertain times.

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