Biodiversity conservation research: Australia's priorities

Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and Biological Diversity Advisory Committee
Commonwealth of Australia, 2001
ISBN 0 6425 4742 4

Appendix 3: Definitions

The following definitions are taken from the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 except where marked with #.

When (*) appears in the definitions below, note that the references to the various categories of the lists of threatened species and threatened ecological communities are all 'in accordance with Part 13 Division 1 Subdivision A' which comprises sections 178-194 of the EPBC Act. Note also that the sections cited following these statements set the criteria for inclusion in the list.

biodiversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources (including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part) and includes:

  1. diversity within species and between species; and
  2. diversity of ecosystems.

cetacean means a member of the sub-order Mysticeti or Odontoceti of the order Cetacea, and includes a part of such a member and any product derived from a such a member.

# Cetaceans are whales, dolphins and related marine mammals.

critically endangered:

  1. a native species may be included in the critically endangered category of the list of threatened native species (*); and
  2. an ecological community may be included in the critically endangered category of the list of threatened ecological communities (*).

Section 179 (3) and section 182 (1): it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future.

conservation dependent species means a listed threatened species that is included in the conservation dependent category of the list referred to in section 178.

Section 179 (6): the species is the focus of a specific conservation program, the cessation of which would result in the species becoming vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered within a period of 5 years.

ecological community means an assemblage of native species that:

  1. inhabits a particular area in nature; and
  2. meets the additional criteria specified in the regulations (if any) made for the purposes of this definition.

# Ecological communities include all the species of plants, animals and micro-organisms that naturally occur together in a particular area or environmental domain in nature in assemblages which can change over time.

ecologically sustainable use of natural resources means use of the natural resources within their capacity to sustain natural processes while maintaining the life-support systems of nature and ensuring that the benefit of the use to the present generation does not diminish the potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations.

ecosystem means a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.

endangered:

  1. a native species may be included in the endangered category of the list of threatened native species (*); and
  2. an ecological community may be included in the endangered category of the list of threatened ecological communities (*).

Section 179 (4) and section 182 (2): it is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.

environment includes:

  1. ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and communities; and
  2. natural and physical resources; and
  3. the qualities and characteristics of locations, places and areas; and
  4. the social, economic and cultural aspects of a thing mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (c).

extinct: a native species may be included in the extinct category of the list of threatened native species (*). Section 179 (1): there is no reasonable doubt that the last member of the species has died.

extinct in the wild: a native species may be included in the extinct in the wild category of the list of threatened native species (*).
Section 179 (2):

  1. it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population well outside its past range; or
  2. it has not been recorded in its known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate seasons, anywhere in its past range, despite exhaustive surveys over a time frame appropriate to its life cycle and form.

habitat means the biophysical medium or media:

  1. occupied (continuously, periodically or occasionally) by an organism or group of organisms; or
  2. once occupied (continuously, periodically or occasionally) by an organism, or group of organisms, and into which organisms of that kind have the potential to be reintroduced.

plan: see recovery plan, threat abatement plan and wildlife conservation plan.

population of a species of ecological community means an occurrence of the species or community in a particular area.

recovery plan means a plan made or adopted under section 269A. Section 270(1): A recovery plan must provide for the research and management actions necessary to stop the decline of, and support the recovery of, the listed threatened species or listed threatened ecological community concerned so that its chances of long-term survival in nature are maximised.

species means a group of biological entities that:

  1. interbreed to produce fertile offspring; or
  2. possess common characteristics derived from a common gene pool;

and includes:

  1. a sub-species; and
  2. a distinct population of such biological entities that the Minister has determined, under section 517, to be a species for the purposes of this Act.

threat abatement plan means a plan made or adopted under section 270B. Section 271(1): A threat abatement plan must provide for the research, management and other actions necessary to reduce the key threatening process concerned to an acceptable level in order to maximise the chances of the long-term survival in nature of native species and ecological communities affected by the process.

threatened ecological community:
see vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered and sections 181-182.

threatened species:
see conservation dependent, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild, extinct and sections 178-179.

threatening process has the meaning given by subsection 188(3)... it threatens, or may threaten, the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a native species or ecological community.

vulnerable:

  1. a native species may be included in the vulnerable category of the list of threatened native species (*); and
  2. an ecological community may be included in the vulnerable category of the list of threatened ecological communities (*).
    Section 179 (5) and section 182 (3): it is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future.

wildlife conservation plan means a plan of a kind referred to in section 285 that has been made or adopted under that section. Section 287(1): A wildlife conservation plan must provide for the research and management actions necessary to support survival of the migratory species, marine species, species of cetacean or conservation dependent species concerned.