The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has developed a report on the impact of the Victorian fires on biodiversity.  The report, Victoria’s bushfire emergency: Biodiversity response and recovery, assesses the fire extent as of 11 January 2020 and will continue to be updated as the bushfire situation in Victoria changes and as more information becomes available.

A range of methods were used to develop the report, including desktop analyses and consultation with key agencies and species experts.

The report describes the impact on species and vegetation communities. It includes actions for the immediate, short, medium and long term for effective recovery of species and their habitats.

Victoria's bushfire emergency: Biodiversity response and recovery

Monthly Newsletter (PDF, 321.7 KB)

Report summary (PDF, 342.5 KB)
Report summary - accessible version (DOCX, 1.4 MB)

Preliminary report (PDF, 3.0 MB)
Preliminary report - accessible version (DOCX, 16.7 MB)

Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program actions map (PDF, 5.1 MB)

Impacts on biodiversity

The 2019/2020 Victorian bushfires are exceptional in size and impact, with approximately 1,400,000 hectares within the current fire extent across Victoria. The bushfires have impacted threatened species and their unique habitats, including approximately 70% of the remaining Warm Temperate Rainforest in Victoria.

The report assesses the current and projected impact of the Victorian bushfires on over 4400 species. Over 170 of Victoria’s rare or threatened species have had over 50% of their known habitat burnt.

Table 1: Species impacted by the current fire extent

% of modelled habitat in the current fire extent Total species Listed under the EPBC Act*^ Listed under the FFG Act* Listed as Victorian Rare or Threatened species*
Fauna
Over 95% 1 species 1 species 1 species 1 species
50% or more 17 species 3 species 8 species 11 species
20% or more 87 species 13 species 26 species 35 species
Flora
Over 95% 4 species 0 species 1 species 4 species
50% or more 168 species 10 species 18 species 162 species
20% or more 689 species 19 species 48 species 397 species

Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program

DELWP has worked alongside species experts, academics and land managers to prioritise actions for fire-affected threatened species and habitats across the following four phases:

  • Phase 1: Immediate actions (from now up to 6 months)
  • Phase 2: Short-term broader-scale actions (up to 1 year)
  • Phase 3: Medium-term action (1-3 years)
  • Phase 4: Longer-term actions (beyond 3 years)

Informed by the report, the Victorian Government is taking immediate action to support Victoria’s bushfire impacted wildlife and biodiversity with a $17.5 million funding package to assist Phase 1 of the Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program.

The severity and extent of the fire has exacerbated some threats to native wildlife and their habitats which need immediate intervention. Many actions are already underway as we continue to assess fire-affected areas and respond directly to impacted plants and animals wherever possible.

The Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program delivers across six key themes. Further information about the delivery of actions under these themes will be communicated as work progresses.

ThemeVictorian Government Funding
1. Immediate reconnaissance of critical fauna, flora and habitat for targeted actions $1,850,000
2. Wildlife welfare $1,000,000
3. Emergency extraction to prevent extinction and limit species decline $2,400,000
4. Intensified and sustained management of threats $7,000,000
5. Maximise long term resilience $3,000,000
6. Knowledge, data and program management $2,250,000
Total$17,500,000

How can you help?

The collective actions of all Victorians to assist in the recovery of our wildlife and habitats will be guided by this approach under the plan. We encourage land managers, partners and community groups alike to refer to this document as we work together to ensure Victoria’s biodiversity is healthy, valued and actively cared for in line with Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037.

Donate to the Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund. 100% of funds raised will be used to support the recovery of bushfire affected wildlife and their habitats.

Page last updated: 17/02/20