The Nature Conservancy’s response to the Australian Bushfire Crisis
The Nature Conservancy is greatly saddened by the unprecedented bushfire crisis in Australia. The scale and severity of the fires as well as the stories of human and wildlife suffering are devastating.
Our heartfelt condolences go to the people and communities who have suffered losses and to those who continue to be harm’s way. Our deep gratitude and respect go to the fire and emergency services personnel who continue to fight the fires and lead emergency recovery efforts, and the thousands of family members and others whose vital support makes their work possible. It is important to acknowledge that the crisis isn’t over, with months left in this year’s fire season.
With as much as 10 million hectares (25 million acres) of land burned thus far – more than the 2019 Amazon fires and the 2018 California wildfires combined – the effects have been horrendous from loss of human life to the loss of native Australian plants and animals to the devastation on communities and habitat.
More than one billion mammals, birds, and reptiles are estimated to have been killed, along with countless insects, fish, and frogs. It is possible, even likely, that all of the known habitat for a number of endangered species has burned, placing their futures in a perilous state.
What The Nature Conservancy is doing
In addition to supporting emergency relief efforts, The Nature Conservancy is focusing our attention on partnering with Commonwealth and state agencies, as well as partner organizations, to deliver three key initiatives in the near-term:
1. Work to identify, manage and protect critical unburned habitats within the fire zone. These areas have become extremely important refuges for native species;
2. Help fund and deliver the restoration of habitats affected by fire; and,
3. Help inform an appropriate response to managing fire in a warming climate.
Longer-term, we will redouble our efforts to tackle the climate crisis, including advocating for stronger policies to accelerate the pace and scale of climate action. This includes the critical climate role played by our forests, grasslands and wetlands, so many of which have been lost in this fire season. To do this, we will continue to partner with public and private landowners and managers, including Indigenous people and communities, to protect, manage, and restore the natural systems so critical to the stability of our climate and so fundamental to our way of life.
What you can do
While the fires remain active, the immediate priority is on securing the safety of people and property, supporting those who have suffered, and supporting rescue efforts.
To that end, you can make a donation to an emergency relief appeal such as the Australian Red Cross, WIRES (New South Wales Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.), or Zoos Victoria. Additional information can be found via the Government of South Australia.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.