More threatened species listed past 2 yrs than previous 10 yrs

New research reveals Australia has listed more threatened species in the past two years than the previous ten, uncovering the true impact of the Black Summer Bushfires ahead of a return of similar conditions in 2023-24.

However, new technology helping co-opt the nation’s backyards to create a network of “recovery refuges” could help fast-track their recovery – as well as resilience against future disaster and development challenges.

According to exclusive findings from Conservation Volunteers Australia and Arup in the Biodiversity in your Backyard‘ report, powered by Provocate®, there has been a net increase of about 150 threatened species nationally in the two years since the landmark 2021 State of the Environment Report, compared to about 130 between the SOE 2011 and 2021 editions (released every five years).

Download the Biodiversity in your Backyard Summary Report here

Our CEO, Phil Harrison, said it was not surprising, given that SOE 2021 reported the Black Summar Bushfires killed as many as one billion native animals and burned 10.3 million hectares of native bushland.

Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek recently linked “almost all” recent threatened species to the fires.

A wallaby searching for food in the wild after bushfires

However, our CEO questioned whether governments were adequately prepared to prevent a repeat in 2023-24, which faced a “triple threat” of disaster, housing, and climate challenges, starting with an early return of bushfire season.

A practical example is the Federal Government’s decision to quietly axe the nation’s natural disaster volunteer portal – a ‘mud army’ for the recovery and resilience of native wildlife and their habitats and a key tool for both preparedness and response to what will be a challenging summer.

“Last month, Australia quietly passed 2000+ total threatened species for the first time in our history,” he said.

“The future of Australia’s threatened species continues to get worse, not better. This is backed by our finding the share of species now listed as critically endangered – the last step before extinction – has doubled the past decade.

Phil Harrison said about half of threatened species also lived in urban areas, alongside 96% of the population.

“As our need for more urban homes grows, so do theirs. As little as 1 metre x 1 metre (1m2) in an unused corner of backyard or balcony could help fill critical missing links in urban wildlife habitat immediately.

“Particularly with smaller “building block” species like birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects driving the rapid rise in threatened species in recent years.

“One-by-one we can all make a difference in our own backyards – and the world around us.”

Start planning your own Nature Block today by heading to and downloading the app. For other ideas or ways to get involved in nature repair and resilience, visit the on-ground event bookings page.





  • The Commonwealth Threatened Species List has grown from 1918 to 2064 in the two years since the 2021 State of the Environment Report (as of October 2023) – a net increase of about 146 (+8%) species overall.
  • This is compared to 1786 threatened species listings at the time of the 2011 SOE Report. That’s a net increase of about 130 (+7%) between the 2011 and 2021 SOE Reports (released five times a year), meaning Australia has listed more threatened species in the past two years than the previous 10.
  • Australia passed a record 600+ animals and 2000+ species listed as threatened or extinct in September 2023.
  • The proportion of living threatened animal species listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ increased from 9% (SOE 2011) to 20.0% (YTD 2023). Plant and total species followed a similar trend.