Governments must act urgently to halt loss of habitats and invading species that are posing major threats to biodiversity across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, according to a landmark new study.

Published in the international journal Conservation Biology, the report is the first comprehensive review of more than 24,000 scientific publications related to conservation in the Oceanic region.

Compiled by a team of 14 scientists, it reveals a sorry and worsening picture of habitat destruction and species loss. It also describes the deficiencies of and opportunities for governmental action to lessen this mounting regional and global problem.

"Earth is experiencing its sixth great extinction event and the new report reveals that this threat is advancing on six major fronts," says the report's lead author, UNSW Professor Richard Kingsford.

"Our region has the notorious distinction of having possibly the worst extinction record on earth," says Professor Kingsford. "This is predicted to continue without serious changes to the way we conserve our environments and dependent organisms.

"We have an amazing natural environment in our part of the world but so much of it is being destroyed before our eyes. Species are being threatened by habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and wildlife disease."

Read the full story on the Faculty of Science website.

Media contact: Bob Beale | | + 61 411 705 435