University Of Tasmania
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Saving species beyond the protected area fence: Threats must be managed across multiple land tenure types to secure Australia's endangered species

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posted on 2023-05-21, 08:21 authored by Kearney, SG, Carwardine, J, Reside, AE, Vanessa AdamsVanessa Adams, Nelson, R, Coggan, A, Spindler, R, Watson, JEM
The main effort to secure threatened species globally is to set aside land and sea for their conservation via governance arrangements such as protected areas. But not even the biggest protected area estate will cover enough area to halt most species declines. Consequently, there is a need for assessments of how species habitats are distributed across the tenure landscape, to guide policy and conservation opportunities. Using Australia as a case study, we assess the relationship between land tenure coverage and the distributions of nationally listed threatened species. We discover that on average, nearly half (48%) of Australian threatened species' distributions occur on privately owned (freehold) lands, despite this tenure covering only 29% of the continent. In contrast, leasehold lands, which cover 38% of Australia, overlap with only 6% of species' distributions while protected area lands (which cover 20%) have an average of 35% of species' distributions. We found the majority (75%; n = 1199) of species occur across multiple land tenures, and those species that are confined to a single tenure were mostly on freehold lands (13%; n = 201) and protected areas (9%; n = 139). Our findings display the opportunity to reverse the current trend of species decline with increased coordination of threat management across land tenures.


Publication title

Conservation Science and Practice



Article number









School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems