This section covers:

Australian conventions and resources

Useful resources include the Atlas of Living Australia, the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas, and classifications of ecosystem services (used both internationally and in Australia).

Several official lists and systems in Australia provide standardised references and terminology:

Did you know? Between 7% and 10% of all species on Earth occur in Australia.


Use initial capitals for the names of official lists and systems that provide standardised references and terminology for different aspects of biodiversity:

National Vegetation Information System (NVIS)     Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA)     National Reserve System (NRS)     Protected Areas     Specially Protected Areas     Weeds of National Significance (WoNS)

Use lower case for terms that are not formal names:

major vegetation groups (MVGs)

Reminder. Initial capitals are used only for formal names. Informal and collective (plural) references to the same item do not need capitals.

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International standards and resources

An international classification of forests has been compiled for the Global Forest Resources Assessment of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Note that the terms do not always comply with Australian editorial conventions, particularly in relation to the use of capital letters.

Australian conventions and resources

Australian forest types are defined in the National Forestry Inventory (NFI).

Use lower case for both FAO (international) and NFI (Australian) groups and subgroups of forest:

primary forest     other wooded land     forest designated for production [international]

eucalypt low woodland     industrial plantations     other native forest [Australian]

Use initial capitals for specific forest tree types:

Eucalypt     Acacia     Mangrove     Rainforest

Use lower case for other classifications:

woodland forest     open forest     low forest     tall forest     mallee forest     state forest

Hyphenate old-growth forest.

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National parks, reserves and conservation areas

Use initial capitals for the formal names of national parks, nature reserves, and state and territory recreation and conservation areas:

Flinders Ranges National Park     Belanglo State Forest     Alice Springs Desert Park

but use lower case for generic uses or plural expressions:

the national parks of New South Wales

Reminder. Initial capitals are used only for formal names. Informal and collective (plural) references to the same item do not need capitals.

See also Geography.

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International standards and resources

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a global leader in research on biodiversity and biodiversity status. It runs various species programs and oversees the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Australian conventions and resources

In Australia, the Australian Government, and state and territory governments maintain lists of threatened species and ecological communities under legislation. State and territory lists do not necessarily conform to the national list, either in the species listed or the category they are listed under. See the table below for an overview of these lists.

See Names of organisms for information on how to write species names.

Present the main categories of the IUCN Red List in lower case:

least concern     near threatened     vulnerable     endangered     critically endangered     extinct in the wild     extinct

Also use lower case for threatened species categories listed in the table below:

vulnerable     endangered     critically endangered     extinct

For threatened ecological communities, use the capitalisation that appears in the relevant lists:

Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens     Grassy Eucalypt Woodland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain

Lists of threatened species and ecological communities under legislation

Jurisdiction Department Legislation Links


Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Threatened species under the EPBC Act

Threatened ecological communities

EPBC Act List of Threatened Ecological Communities

Australian Capital Territory

Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate

Nature Conservation Act 1980

Threatened species and ecological communities

New South Wales

NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995

Threatened species

Northern Territory

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000

Threatened animals

Threatened plants


Department of Environment and Science

Nature Conservation Act 1992

Also see Nature Conservation (Wildlife)

Regulation 2006

Threatened species

South Australia

Department of Environment and Water

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972

Threatened species and ecological communities


Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Threatened Species Protection Act 1995

Threatened Species and Communities


Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988

Victoria’s framework for conserving threatened species

Threatened species advisory lists

Western Australia

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

Wildlife Conservation Act 1950

Threatened species and communities

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