Since humans first arrived on the continent, Australia's biodiversity has been modified extensively by habitat fragmentation, burning, invasive species, farming and other processes. We have witnessed this change through extinctions and changes in land cover, but surprisingly little is known about the status and trends of Australia's biodiversity.
The status of biodiversity is measured by the number of species in a particular place or by the diversity of species in a particular place. Trends refer to the change in biodiversity over time.
Marine and aquatic environments show similar status and trends to terrestrial environments. Most of the declines we see are in areas close to human settlement. Many of our lakes and river systems have been extensively changed, especially in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Evidence from monitoring shows that Australia biodiversity is declining and pressure on biodiversity is increasing. It is critically important to use scientific monitoring of biodiversity to manage Australia's biodiversity into the future.
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