Invasive species are Australia’s number-one extinction threat

By Andy Sheppard and Linda Broadhurst. Originally published on The Conversation.

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Barking Owls are one of Australia’s 1,770 threatened or endangered species. Navin/FlickrCC BY-SA

This week many people across the world stopped and stared as extreme headlines announced that one eighth of the world’s species – more than a million – are threatened with extinction.

According to the UN report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which brought this situation to public attention, this startling number is a consequence of five direct causes: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasion of alien species.

It’s the last, invasive species, that threatens Australian animals and plants more than any other single factor.
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