Back on Track species prioritisation framework applications

    Orange thighed treefrog  Photo: Queensland Government

    Orange thighed treefrog  Photo: Queensland Government

    The benefits of Back on Track

    The Back on Track species prioritisation framework (Back on Track) highlights priority threatened species for conservation, and recovery actions that will deliver the greatest benefits for invested resources. In doing so it provides the following key benefits:

    • The identification of species in trouble, allowing for early action and prevention strategies.
    • More effective and efficient use of conservation effort and limited resources.
    • Greater direction to stakeholders in targeting investment and focusing conservation and recovery efforts.
    • The encouragement of multi-species and landscape management approaches, as well as opportunities for cross-regional projects.
    • Increased awareness and interest in a broader range of threatened species, such as insects, marine species, and grasses.
    • Clear research priorities for conservation and management purposes.

    Actions for Biodiversity documents

    The main outputs of Back on Track are the Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity documents. These documents have been produced for all of Queensland’s 14 Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions, and highlight the priority species and suggested recovery actions in each region. The Actions for Biodiversity documents have been produced to help guide investments supported by NRM bodies, the Queensland Government, and partners in the recovery of threatened species.

    Lake Dunn at sunset, along the stock route network of western Queensland   Photo: B Walsh

    Lake Dunn at sunset, along the stock route network of western Queensland   Photo: B Walsh

    Cross-regional projects

    Back on Track has been used to help develop the following cross-regional projects:

    • The Enhancing Biodiversity Hotspots along Western Queensland Stock Routes project was a joint initiative between four NRM bodies (South West NRM, Desert Channels Queensland Southern Gulf Catchments, and the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee) and the Queensland Government. The project identified biodiversity hotspots across approximately 1,844,000 hectares (approx. 75,000 kilometres) of stock routes in western Queensland, and suggested actions for their management. The final report of the Enhancing Biodiversity Hotspots along Western Queensland Stock Routes project is available for download.
    • The 'Bringing Back the Beach Scrub' project was a joint initiative between three NRM bodies (Reef Catchments, Fitzroy Basin Association, and NQ Dry Tropics) and the department. The project mapped beach scrub (Microphyll/Notophyll vine forest) habitat along the central Queensland coast, prioritised sites for management, and delivered on-ground management actions at 11 sites.

    Identifying research priorities

    Through Back on Track, research priorities are being identified for:

    • Priorities species, with research and monitoring actions in the Back on Track Actions for Biodiversity documents focused on the information required to improve the recovery of these species.
    • Data deficient species, which could not be assessed by species experts due to lack of information, and which require information identified to assist effective management.

    Informing Recovery Plans

    The Australian Government may make or adopt recovery plans for species listed as threatened under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC). These plans identify the key threats for a species (or group of species), and methods used to mitigate these threats. Back on Track is being used to identify actions to mitigate key threats impacting on both EPBC listed and priority threatened species thereby reflecting overall biodiversity benefits.

    Informing the assessment of legislative listings

    Following amendments to the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA), the category 'Rare' was removed. Consequently 843 'Rare' species were prioritised for review using their ranking from Back on Track species technical workshops.

    Assessing scientific permits

    All species require a permit for scientific studies under the NCA to regulate the impacts on populations, but only the permit applications for species listed under the NCA are further scrutinised and permits are restricted to protect sensitive populations. However, there are some species that are threatened even though they are not listed under the NCA. Back on Track can identify these species, and has already been used to limit the collection of specimens and put conditions on permits on non-listed threatened species as part of assessing sustainability.

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