Goddard Building, University of Queensland, St Lucia Qld 4072


Research in brief

The Threatened Species Index is a research collaboration of the National Environmental Science Program’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub, the University of Queensland and Birdlife Australia.

This project is developing a Threatened Species Index (TSX) for Australia, which can assist policy makers, conservation managers and the public to understand how some of the population trends across Australia’s threatened species are changing over time. It will inform policy and investment decisions, and enable coherent and transparent reporting on relative changes in threatened species numbers at national, state and regional levels. The method by which Australia’s TSX has been created is based on the Living Planet Index, a method developed by World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London. The TSX is still in the early stages of development, but it has been designed to be a dynamic tool to which new monitoring data can be added and examined.

How can the index be used?

For the first time in Australia, an index has been developed that can provide reliable and rigorous measures of trends across Australia’s threatened species. In addition to communicating overall trends, the indices can be interrogated, and the data downloaded via a web-app to allow trends for different taxonomic groups or regions to be explored and compared. So far, the index has been populated with data for some threatened birds and monitoring data for threatened plants are being assembled and threatened mammals are planned next.

By bringing together monitoring data, these indices will allow Australian governments, non-government organisations, stakeholders and the community to better understand and report on trends for threatened species groups including which are decreasing, increasing or staying stable. It will potentially enable us to better understand the performance of high-level strategies and the return on investment in threatened species recovery and inform our priorities for future investment.

A Threatened Species Index for Australian birds has been produced for the first time in 2018. This index can be interrogated using our web visualisation tool. More information on producing indices can be found here.

More information on the research project is at the Threatened Species Recovery Hub website.