Guidelines for assessing and categorising species, populations and subpopulations
For the purposes of consistency in categorising species, a clear definition of the term species, population and sub-population is required, as well as guidance in when and how each of these entities will be assessed by the Species Technical Committee (STC). Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA), the definition of ‘species’ is a species, subspecies, hybrid, variant, race, mutation or geographically separate population of animal or plant. The standard used for the naming of species is detailed in section 5 in the Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 2006.
To further clarify the way that a species will be assessed, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s STC has adopted this guideline for assessing nominations and categorising recognisable taxon, populations or subpopulations.
- If the species occurs in other parts of jurisdictions within Australia, the overall Australian population is taken into consideration when assessing population sizes, threats and likelihood of extinction.
- If the species only occurs in Queensland, the STC will consider the whole Queensland population of a recognised species or sub-species when assessing population sizes, threats and likelihood of extinction.
- If evidence can be provided that indicates that a particular part of the population of a species (sub-population) is important, significantly genetically dissimilar and disjunct, it may be considered for listing as a sub-population of a particular taxon. However, it is only in very well documented cases that this will be the case.
Possible triggers for the STC to consider sub-populations for listings
- The sub-population is demonstrated to be disjunct (that is, that part of the population of the species is widely separated from the remainder of the whole population with little or no breeding occurring).
- There is a scientifically recognised, preferably published, genetic difference between the sub-populations within the species. The sub-population will need to be shown to be adding genetically to the whole population, rather than representing a subset of genetic variability found more broadly across the whole population.
- A local sub-population is making a significant contribution to the long-term sustainability of the species; that is, it is a core or source population without which recolonisation into other populations can no longer occur.
- View information about how species are assigned to wildlife categories
- View the criteria considered by the STC for the following categories: extinct in the wild, endangered, vulnerable, near threatened and least concern
- Make a nomination for a species to be assigned to a particular wildlife category