This Plan assessed threats in three ways. Firstly, threats to rainforest and related vegetation were listed, assessed and ranked. Secondly, different biological and geographic scales at which these threats operate were identified. Thirdly, geographic areas to form the focus of recovery action implementation were identified and mapped. In order to provide context to the actions in this Plan, the discussion of individual threats is presented in Section 4: Management Actions.
3.1Assessing and ranking threats to biodiversity
The approach to assess and rank threats adopted for this Plan was an adaptation of the Conservation Action Planning Process (Nature Conservancy 2007).
When considering the direct and indirect ways in which threats and threat activities affect biodiversity, it is useful to distinguish between the source of a stress upon biodiversity and the actual stress itself. For the purposes of this Plan, the sources of a stress are defined as the threatening processes and activities that cause stress on biodiversity. The stresses themselves are defined as the actual impacts caused by these threatening processes and activities. For this Plan, the four fundamental stresses on biodiversity have been identified as:
loss of individuals
loss of genetic integrity 1.
Threats affecting biodiversity and priority species and ecological communities were determined from a combination of expert opinion, published literature and available databases, including Unified Classification of Direct Threats (IUCN–CMP 2006) and Dataset on Threats to Biodiversity Listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994 (DEC 2006a).
The dataset on threats (DEC 2006a) included all key threatening processes listed under the EPBC Act, NSW TSC Act and NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994. Key threatening processes are processes that threaten, or may threaten, the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a species or ecological community. There are no provisions under Queensland legislation to list threatening processes.
Table 10 identifies the key threatening processes (or legislative equivalents) that are relevant to the Planning Area, and also indicates which of the listed processes has a relevant threat abatement plan or NSW statement of intent (as of September 2009). These plans detail appropriate actions and measures to ameliorate the impacts of the threat, and are referred to by this Plan in Section 4 and outlined in Appendix 1 (on the enclosed CD).
Key threatening processes relevant to the Planning Area
TAP = Threat abatement plan approved or draft under consideration; SoI = Statement of intent approved; FM Act = NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994
Hook and line fishing in areas important for the survival of threatened fish species
Installation and operation of instream structures and other mechanisms that alter natural flow regimes of rivers and streams
Introduction of fish to fresh waters within a river catchment outside their natural range
Removal of large woody debris from rivers and streams
One hundred and eighty threat activities (i.e. 180 sources of the above four stresses) were identified as being active either in the past, present or future. These threats have been grouped into broad threat categories. Two over-arching threat categories (universal threats) were identified:
anthropogenic climate change.
These two threat categories are treated separately because, although they are threats in their own right, both are considered over-arching threats that interact with and potentially exacerbate the other threat categories. The other ten broad threat categories identified were:
Each of these ten threats were ranked based on their overall contribution to the four threat stresses (habitat loss, modification, loss of individuals and genetic integrity) and their geographical extent, severity, and irreversibility across the Planning Area. In accordance with the ranking, categories are presented in decreasing order of severity, and therefore priority, in which they operate across the Planning Area. The objectives in Section 4: Management Actions are also ordered to reflect these priorities. Appendix 9 (on the enclosed CD) contains a full list of the threats assigned to each of the ten broad threat categories. It is important to note that many of these threat categories are frequently interconnected, and therefore often exacerbate each other.