Indicator: BD-23 Some selected nationally significant native terrestrial species subjected to harvesting and population trends

Data

The 2001 State of the Environment (SoE) Biodiversity theme report provided a significant amount of information on wildlife harvesting and the economic value of species and ecosystems.

The harvesting of native flora and fauna for domestic and export purposes is controlled by various legislation in each State and Territory.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 regulates the commercial export of most wild harvested native plants and animals (including their products) from Australia. The Act also bans the export for commercial purposes of live native vertebrate animals, except fish. Wild harvested specimens may be harvested after the appropriate permits have been obtained under a management program.

A significant number of species used for trading are protected under national legislation through approved management plans

Approved wildlife trade management plans that are currently approved under the EPBC Act
State Program Name Species Approval Period
From To
New South Wales Kangaroo Macropus rufus
Macropus fuliginosus
Macropus giganteus
Macropus robustus robustus
1 January 2002 31 December 2006
Protected and Threatened Plants in the Cut Flower Industry: Management Plan 2002-2005 23 August 2002 30 June 2005
Northern Territory Management Program for Crocodylus porosus and Crocodylus johnstoni in the Northern Territory of Australia (1999) Crocodylus porosus Crocodylus johnstoni 1 January 2004 Approval of a revised plan
Queensland Wildlife Trade Management Plan for Export - Commercially Harvested Macropods Macropus rufus
Macropus fuliginosus
Macropus robustus
1 January 2003 31 December 2007
South Australia The Macropod Conservation and Management Plan for South Australia Macropus rufus
Macropus fuliginosus
Macropus robustus
1 January 2003 31 December 2007
Tasmania Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula (Kerr) 1 January 2000 31 December 2004
Tree-fern Dicksonia antarctica 19 December 2001 31 December 2004
Victoria Tree-fern Dicksonia antarctica
Cyathea australis
Cyathea cunninghamii
Cyathea leichardtiana
Todea barbara
19 December 2001 31 December 2004
Western Australia Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) Management Plan for Western Australia Macropus rufus 1 January 2003 31 December 2007
Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) Management Plan for Western Australia Macropus fuliginosus 1 January 2003 31 December 2007
Western Australia Flora 1 July 2003 30 June 2008

Source: Department of the Environment and Heritage 2005, Approved wildlife trade management plans, viewed 26 Sep 2005, http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/wildlife/
native_animals/permits_and_licences/duck_and_quail_hunting/

Harvest of all waterfowl species in Queensland 1983-2000

Harvest of all waterfowl species in Queensland 1983-2000

Source: Environmental Protection Agency 2002, Conservation and management of duck and quail in Queensland 2000-2005, viewed N/A, http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/publications?id=1252, Figure 6 page 6

Kangaroo harvesting

The population size of kangaroos has fluctuated in the harvested areas of Australia between 15 and 35 million animals over the past 20 years, depending on seasonal conditions. All the species that are subject to commercial harvesting are common species. Before approving any management plans that allow for the commercial harvest and export of kangaroos or kangaroo products, the Australian Government considers factors such as kangaroo biology, population size and trends and conservation status of kangaroo species. At present, there ares insufficient data available on actual kangaroo populations and population characteristics to demonstrate that harvesting does not have a detrimental impact either on the harvested species or their ecosystems.

Kangaroos killed under commercial harvest quotas 1991- 2003
Year Macropus rufus
(Red Kangaroo)
M. giganteus
(Eastern Grey)
M. fuliginosus
(Western Grey)
M. robustus
(Euro / Wallaroo)
M. parryi
(Whiptail Wallaby)
Macropus rufogriseus
(Bennetts Wallaby)
Thylogale billardierii
(Tasmanian Pademelon
Total
1991 1 365 716 1 270 877 158 213 113 791 4 226 2 912 823
1992 1 308 140 1 183 681 182 814 139 943 2 071 2 816 649
1993 1 319 693 1 273 922 207 397 172 449 2 737 2 976 198
1994 1 425 553 1 328 561 311 504 225 644 1 965 3 293 227
1995 1 435 614 1 306 747 301 405 214 916 1 766 3 260 448
1996 1 447 698 1 066 364 353 650 232 502 909 3 101 123
1997 1 171 300 704 137 264 656 148 803 791 2 289 687
1998 1 344 214 800 707 242 630 204 789 217 149 70 2 592 776
1999 1 278 469 925 946 240 727 152 782 1 279 421 515 2 600 139
2000 1 173 242 1 106 208 227 552 238 439 357 584 20 2 746 402
2001 1 364 682 1 438 280 283 332 296 805 256 6 884 2 020 3 392 259
2002 1 500 588 1 810 426 330 372 257 140 190 4 392 2 169 3 905 277
2003 1 121 724 1 758 173 246 672 347 914 0 0 0 3 474 483
2005 Commercial Kangaroo harvest quotas
NSW 445 300 550 820 143 963 35 616 0 0 0 1 175 699
Qld 472 332 1 081 340 0 338 279 0 0 0 1 891 951
SA 237 600 0 97 900 76 400 0 0 0 411 900
WA 250 000 0 180 000 0 0 0 0 430 000
Total 1 405 232 1 632 160 421 863 450 295 0 0 0 3 909 550

Source: Department of the Environment and Heritage 2005, Kangaroo harvesting statistics, viewed 7 Nov 2005, http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/
trade-use/wild-harvest/kangaroo/stats.html

What the data mean

Of the 2 examples provided, number of kangaroos harvested have increased by nearly a million since 1991 and are currently at their highest level ever.

Numbers of waterfowl harvested in Queensland has decreased to about a quarter of the number harvested in 1985, although the number has fluctuated considerably over the period.

Data Limitations

The indicator requires populations and trends in abundance and distribution of harvested species. Only data on numbers harvested are available. No data that would give an indication as to whether harvesting is sustainable, for example, data on population trends, population structure or distribution of harvested species, appear to be available.

Issues for which this is an indicator and why

Biodiversity - Utilisation and value of biodiversity - Harvesting and trade in wildlife 

Data on trends in abundance and populations of harvested species would give some indication of whether harvesting is sustainable.

Other indicators for this issue:

Land - Contributions of land to human life - Living materials from the land 

Plants and animals both farmed (agriculture) and wild are harvested from the land for human use. Data on these harvesting activities is needed to monitor their contribution to human life.

Other indicators for this issue:

Further Information

Kangaroo quotas

Changes to this document since December 2006

The text appearing in the section entitled "What the data mean" and "Data Limitations" has been altered to reflect the view of the Department of the Environment and Water Resources that kangaroo population trend data are adequate to conclude that kangaroo harvesting is sustainable. Links have also been added to kangaroo population data by States.