Australian scientists and experts call for an end to land clearing and native forest logging

Last year in Montreal, the world made what could prove to be an historic agreement to reverse the global nature crisis. Australia played a vital role in securing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and its mission: to halt and reverse biodiversity loss to put nature on a path to recovery. 

As researchers who study, document and work to recover Australia’s plants and animals, insects and ecosystems, we are keenly aware of the value of nature to Australians and the world. 

Australians love our unique nature: we put it on our money, name our sports teams after it, and spend time in it with our families. For First Peoples, it is inseparable from culture and identity.

Australia’s nature, in all its diversity, is also pivotal to the functioning of earth’s systems. The state of nature has profound implications for society and the economy – for our health and wellbeing, our lifestyles and our prosperity.

But nature in Australia is in desperate trouble.

As scientists and experts, we have sounded the alarm for more than 30 years that the large-scale destruction of native woodlands, forests, wetlands and grasslands was the single biggest threat to the nation’s biodiversity.

That is still the case today.

Across the nation, 500,000 hectares or more of land are cleared annually. For every 100 hectares of native woodland cleared, about 2000 birds, 15,000 reptiles and 500 native mammals will die. 

Land clearing and native forest logging exacerbate climate change, affect local temperature and rainfall, degrade soils, increase pollution in freshwater streams and marine environments like the Great Barrier Reef, harm pollinators like native bees, and worsen the impact of invasive predators like cats and foxes.

The mission agreed in Montreal is urgent. Our commitment to end extinction could be world-leading. But the legacy of this government will be written by the actions it takes to halt the current drivers of nature destruction and repair past damage. 

The mission to recover nature can only be fully realised by respecting the rights and honouring the knowledge of First Peoples in land management and forest stewardship.

We urge you to commit, and act, to end broad-scale land clearing and native forest logging in this term of government. Ending extinction, limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and reversing nature’s decline depends on it.

Professor Hugh Possingham, University of Queensland
Dr Jack Pascoe, University of Melbourne
Professor Brendan Wintle, University of Melbourne
Professor Sarah Legge, Charles Darwin University/The Australian National University
Dr Kate Umbers, Western Sydney University & Invertebrates Australia
Professor Sarah Bekessy, RMIT University
Professor David Lindenmayer, The Australian National University
Professor Martine Maron, The University of Queensland
Professor John Thwaites, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
Professor Catherine Lovelock, The University of Queensland
Professor Terry Hughes, James Cook University
Professor Euan Ritchie, Deakin University
Professor Rosemary Lyster, University of Sydney Law School
Professor John Woinarski, Charles Darwin University
Professor Jodie Rummer, James Cook University
Professor Richard Kingsford, Centre for Ecosystem Science, UNSW
Professor James Watson, University of Queensland
Professor Susan Park, University of Sydney
Dr Rebecca Spindler, Bush Heritage Australia
Professor Michael McCarthy, The University of Melbourne
Professor Gretta Pecl, University of Tasmania
Professor David Keith FAA, University of New South Wales
Dr Jess Marsh Murdoch, University and Invertebrates Australia
Associate Professor Nicola Mitchell, The University of Western Australia
Professor Liam Smith, Monash University
Professor Stephen Garnett, Charles Darwin University
Dr Michelle Ward, WWF Australia
Merrill Witt, Save Sydney’s Koalas
Cullen Gunn, Kilter Rural
Dr Vanessa Bible, University of New England
Dr Amanda Lilleyman, BirdLife Australia
Dr Bertram Jenkins, UNE
Dr Angela Dean, The University of Queensland
Dr Stuart Gyngell, Retired
Susan Prior, Norfolk Island Reef
Dr David Williamson, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Dr Patrick Smallhorn-West, James Cook University
Dr Maarten De Brauwer, CSIRO
Sage Rassmussen, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Kate Quigley, James Cook University
Professor Andrew Baird, James Cook University
Associate Professor Jane Williamson, Macquarie University
Dr Helen Bostock Lyman, University of Queensland
Marie Thomas, University of Queensland
Dr Jennie Mallela, Australian National Unviversity
Hillary Smith, James Cook University
Tahlia Bassett, Curtin University
Dr James Gilmour, UWA/AIMS
Jessica Leck, Mid Coast 2 Tops Landcare Connection
Professor Laurence McCook, James Cook University
Dr Shawna Foo, University of Sydney
Dr Yves-Marie Bozec, University of Queensland
Dr Zoe Richards, Curtin University
Dr Katie Motson, James Cook University
Professor Timothy Ravasi, James Cook University
Jamie Colquhoun, Australian Institute of Marine Science
Dr April Hall, James Cook University
Professor Michael A. Borowitzka, Murdoch University
Associate Professor Carissa Klein, University of Queensland
Dr Tina Skinner, University of Queensland
Zachary Amir, The University of Queensland
Vasundhara Krishnani, University of Queensland
Lena van Swinderen, University of Queensland
Dr Angela Recalde Salas, Bush Heritage Australia
Dr Julia Hazel, James Cook University
Dr Sarah Frankland, University of Melbourne
Professor Christine Schönberg, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan
Dr Katharina Fabricius
Dr Andreas Dietzel, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Dr Judit Szabo, Charles Darwin University
Professor Robert van Woesik, Florida Institute of Technology
Dr Carmen Chu, University of Queensland
Dr Martin Predavec, Royal Zoological Society of NSW
Dr Mohamed Mohamed Rashad Ahmed, Arish University
Dr Catheline Froehlich, University of Wollongong
Dr Lydia Mackenzie
Associate Professor Maria Beger, University of Queensland/University of Leeds
Dr Jessie Wells, The University of Melbourne
Professor Jan McDonald, University of Tasmania
Dr Megan Evans, UNSW Canberra
Dr Jessica Walsh, Monash University
Jessie Moyses, QUT
Sam Waite, QUT
Zoe Ford, UNSW
Dr Anna Hopkins, Edith Cowan University
Dr Mary Osborn, Dulwich Hill ALP
Natasha Harrison, UWA
Dr Oakes Holland, Queensland University of Technology
Dr Kerry Bridle, University of Tasmania
Erica Cseko Nolasco, Queensland University of Technology
Dr Ayesha Tulloch, Queensland University of Technology
Hannah Thomas, University of Queensland
Dr Elisa Bayraktarov, EcoCommons Australia, Griffith University
Professor Don Driscoll, Deakin University
Jacinta Humphrey, La Trobe University
Dr Daniel Zeh, self-employed
Ryan Borrett, Murdoch University
Dr Ilva Sporne, QUT
Dr Simon Verdon, La Trobe University
Charlotte Patterson, Queensland University of Technology
Dr Ascelin Gordon, RMIT University
Claire Hewitt, Ecologist
Dr Carolyn Bussey, Retired
Dr Hilary Pearl
Scott Forrest, Queensland University of Technology
Dr Colette Thomas, SEED Science
Dr Keith Cardwell, Retired
Dr Angela Guerrero Gonzaelz, Queensland University of Technology
Stephanie Emmerson, QUT
Dr Tracy Rout, WWF Australia
Geoff Lockwood, Southern Fauna Resources
Dr Ian Baird, Independent Conservation Biologist
Justine Ohlrich, University of Queensland
Dr Ayesha Burdett, River Bend Ecology
Professor Christopher Dickman, University of Sydney
Sai Meghna, School of Environment
Dana Lanceman, UNSW
Colin Scobie, Rotary Redcliffe Sunrise Inc
Dr Judy Lambert, Retired environment/sustainability consultant
Morane LE NOHAIC, University of Queensland
Dr Lily Bentley, University of Queensland
Cara Parsons, ANU
Dr Stuart Blanch, WWF-Australia
Rachel Lowry, WWF-Australia
Dr Nicholas Fitzgerald, Bush Heritage Australia
Professor Liz Cameron, University of Newcastle
Theresa Fyffe, Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Dr Leslie Roberson, University of Queensland
Jaimi Mostellar, University of Queensland
Emma Church, University of Queensland
Liam Timms, University of Queensland
Dr Sam Nicol, Private Individual
Professor Anthony J. Richardson, University of Queensland
Natalya Maitz, The University of Queensland
Professor Salit Kark, University of Queensland
Dr Sofía López-Cubillos, University of Melbourne
Professor Richard Fuller, University of Queensland
Abigail Martin, University of Queensland
Dr Matthew Luskin, University of Queensland
Liz Buccheri, University of Queensland
Dr Elisa Bayraktarov, EcoCommons Australia, Griffith University
Dr Nathalie Butt, The University of Queensland
Dr Loren Fardell, The University of Queensland
Zoë Lieb, University of Queensland
Dr Jacqueline Wicks, University of Queensland
Chris MacColl, University of Queensland
Naomi Ploos van Amstel, Griffith University
Dr Brooke Williams, The University of Queensland
Dr Dominique Potvin, University of the Sunshine Coast
Dr Tracy Schultz, University of Queensland
Dr Clare Morrison, Griffith University
Dr Carly Campbell, Queensland University of Technology
Dr Zena Dinesen, The University of Queensland
Dr Jeffrey Hanson, Carleton University
Gillian Rowan, University of Queensland
Dr Ali Chauvenet, Griffith University
Joel Irwin, Griffith University
Isabella Smith, Griffith University
Professor Susan Bengtson Nash, Griffith University
Professor Corey Bradshaw, Flinders University
Michael Traurig, Deakin University
Dr Alison Peel, Griffith University
Carrie Deutsch, Griffith University
Dr Nicki Shumway, The University of Queensland, Centre for Policy Futures
Dr Javier Leon, UniSC
Professor Hamish McCallum, Griffith University
Dr Josephine Nocillado, University of the Sunshine Coast
Dr Sankar Subramanian, University of the Sunshine Coast
Professor Kate Buchanan, Deakin University
Dr Laura Sonter, University of Queensland
Dr Gabriel Conroy, University of the Sunshine Coast
Professor Peter Biro, Deakin University
Professor David Schoeman, University of the Sunshine Coast
Associate Professor Alison Shapcott, University Sunshine Coast
Dr Rachel Hughes, University of Melbourne
Dr Laura Grogan, Griffith University
Professor Brett Bryan, Deakin University
Dr April Reside, The University of Queensland
Dr Deborah Bower, University of New England
Dr Daniella Teixeira, Queensland University of Technology
Geoff Fyfe
Alex Meyer, The University of Queensland
Jason Dail, University of Queensland
Dr Rachel Oh, UQ
Tida Nou, Invasive Species Council
Dr Shawan Chowdhury, The University of Queensland
Dr Gabriella Scata, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Qld
Sara Weir, Bush Heritage Australia
Dr Paula Peeters, Paperbark Writer
Dr Jonathan Mitchell, The University of Western Australia
Professor Abigail Elizur, University of the Sunshine Coast
PhD Katharina-Victoria Perez-Hammerle, The University of Queensland
Professor Cynthia Riginos, The University of Queensland
Associate Professor Diana Fisher, University of Queensland
Gabriel George Porritt, Invasive Species Council
Stella Shipway, Bush Heritage Australia
Dr Andrew Coates, Deakin University
Dr Anne Kerle, Consultant Ecologist
Dr Christina Zdenek, University of Queensland
Dr Michael Fleming, Kerle Environmental Consultants
Dr Valerie Hagger, The University of Queensland
Dr Ruth Webley, The Nature Space
Lincoln Kern, Practical Ecology Pty Ltd
Alexandra Catling, University of the Sunshine Coast
Thomas Lloyd, The University of Queensland
Dr Steve Douglas, Ecological Surveys & Planning
Robyn Hastings, Landcare
Dr Diane Solomon Westerhuis, Independent
Dr Matthew Symonds, Deakin University
Emily Massingham, University of Queensland
Professor Shauna Murray, University of Technology Sydney
Madelyn Mangan, Griffith University
Dr Andrew Rogers, University of Queensland
Dr Vera Weisbecker, Flinders University
Dr Katherine Tuft, Arid Recovery
Professor Matt Hayward, University of Newcastle
Dr Mathew Crowther, University of Sydney
Professor Dieter Hochuli
Mariah Jane Sampson, Deakin University Centre for Regional and Rural Futures
Professor John A Endker, FRS, Deakin University
Grace Day, Deakin University
Dr Tina Parkhurst, Murdoch University
Madeline Davey, University of Queensland
Professor Alfredo Huete, University of Technology Sydney
Professor Anne Peters, Monash University
Jasmine Hall, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University
Professor Marcel Klaassen, Deakin University
Dr P Turner, University of Tasmania
Dr Andy Leigh, University of Technology Sydney
Associate Professor Thom van Dooren, University of Sydney
Dr Simone Blomberg, University of Queensland
Dr Laura Schuijers, The University of Sydney
Luke Emerson, Deakin University
Professor Nicole Graham, The University of Sydney
Ana Maria Ulloa, The University of Sydney
Professor David Schlosberg, University of Sydney
Ben Brearley, The University of Queensland
Oriana Licul-Milevoj, Ecology & Restoration Australia
Dr Rachel Morgain, University of Melbourne
Dr Fabio Cortesi, University of Queensland

This open letter was coordinated by the Australian Conservation Foundation.