A report card to effectively communicate threatened species recovery

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 7, 16 February 2024
Ward M., Rout T.M., Possingham H.P., Stewart R., McDonald-Madden E., Clark T.G. et al.

Earth's anthropogenic-driven species extinction crisis is worsening. Communicating this crisis to diverse audiences is needed to catalyze action, yet it is proving difficult. To help overcome this communication problem, we designed a threatened species recovery report card with the aim of showcasing conservation progress on imperiled species to the wider public. Using commonly available datasets, we report on species recovery in Australia as a case study. The report card captures the major building blocks of species recovery including funding, recovery planning, habitat protection, threat status improvement, and persistence. It highlights the power of the results, with Australia failing most indicators. While our report card for Australia highlights many shortcomings, it provides a baseline from which decision makers can track progress and outline directions for improvement. Without an immediate step change in how the biodiversity crisis is communicated at varying scales across Earth, including in Australia, we will continue to fail future generations.