Every five years the federal government presents a State of the Environment report, prepared by a group of independent experts, and the 2016 report has just been released.
The report predicts that population growth and economic development will be the main drivers of environmental problems such as land-use change, habitat destruction, invasive species, and climate change.
On the whole, this isn’t a report that will cheer you up or make you feel particularly hopeful. You’ll find out that Australia’s biodiversity is still declining with more ecological communities animals and plants added to the nationally threatened list since the last report, that the past 5 years have been characterised by extreme weather events, many with strong impacts on the coast and that climate change pressure on the environment is increasing.
However, there are a few positives, like Australia’s conservation estate has increased in size, citizen science has expanded, land clearing rates have stabilised everywhere (apart from in Queensland!) and access to information about the environment has improved.
If you’d like to delve deeper but don’t want to read the whole report, have a look at a summary article of the key findings, written by the Chair of expert panel, or visit the State of the Environment 2016 website to see an overview of the key findings where you can select categories of most interest.