There are many plants and animals still to be discovered by science. There are an estimated 566,398 species in Australia - but three-quarters of this biodiversity is yet to be identified. Forty-five per cent of continental Australia and over 90 per cent of our marine area have never been comprehensively surveyed by scientists.
No country has documented the biodiversity that exists in their reserve system in this way, let alone across an entire continent. This lack of information impedes conservation and resource planning and makes a response to global challenges such as climate change difficult. A national snapshot of Australia’s reserve system will enable more strategic acquisition of new reserves, enable world-leading management of existing reserves and allow preparation of climate change responses. The technology, information and partnerships required to assess the adequacy of Australia’s reserve system at a national scale have not existed – until now.
Scientists at Work
A full team of scientists will conduct up to six major biological expeditions each year throughout Australia, discovering new species, making new records of species and reporting on these. These surveys will target approximately 300 reserves that have been added to the National Reserve System within the past 15 years with Australian Government funding.
A crucial part of Bush Blitz is the follow-up science - taxonomy.
Bush Blitz is a globally unique cross-sector partnership drawing on the knowledge and expertise of government, non-government organisations, industry and science to document the biodiversity of the oldest continent on Earth and provide an international benchmark for biodiversity knowledge.
Bush Blitz is an initiative of:
- the Australian Government, through the Australian Biological Resources Study and Caring for Our Country
- BHP Billiton
- Earthwatch Institute Australia
- AusPlots - Rangelands, based at the University of Adelaide
Bush Blitz also involves State and Territory conservation, primary industry and agricultural agencies, Australia’s museums and herbaria, CSIRO, leading universities, the Atlas of Living Australia and the Australian Science Teachers Association.
More on partners.
Bush Blitz is Australia's largest nature discovery project – a multi-million dollar partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia to document plants and animals in selected properties across Australia. Since the program began in 2010 Bush Blitz has discovered more than 900 new species and has added thousands of species records to what is already known, increasing our scientific knowledge to help us protect our biodiversity for generations to come.