Urban sprawl ‘destroying habitats and accelerating extinction crisis’

Habitat destruction caused by urban sprawl is hastening the national extinction crisis, a new report by the Australian Conservation Foundation reveals.

Between 2000 (when the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act was promulgated) and 2017, at least 20,212 hectares of forested urban threatened species habitat was destroyed.

The report says more forested urban habitat was destroyed in Queensland (12,923 hectares) than in any other state.

The five worst urban areas for forested habitat destruction between 2000 and 2017 were Brisbane, Gold Coast-Tweed Heads, Townsville, the Sunshine Coast, and Sydney.

ACF campaigner Jess Abrahams said: “While national parks and protected areas are essential to safeguard biodiversity, our cities and towns also provide critical habitat for threatened species.

“Around 25 per cent of Australia’s nationally listed threatened plants and 46 per cent of threatened animals can be found in cities, towns and suburbs,’ she said.

Areas inhabited by red goshawks, grey-headed flying foxes, koalas, Australasian bitterns, and regent honeyeaters were the most affected by urban land-clearing.