There is no comprehensive system of describing threats and disturbances currently used in Australia, despite the widespread impacts of human activities on natural ecosystems. Yet a detailed categorization would facilitate the collation of threatening process information into information systems; enable standardized collection and availability of data; and enable comparative analyses of ecosystem condition between stakeholders, agencies, states, and nations, particularly for environmental reporting and evaluation mechanisms such as State of the Environment. As part of the Queensland Wetlands Programme (QWP), a threat and disturbance framework was developed, focused on the pressure and impacts components of the DPSIR (driver-pressure-state-impacts-response) framework. A wetland inventory database was developed also that included a detailed threat and disturbance categorization using the QWP framework. The categorization encompasses a broad range of anthropogenic and natural processes, and is hierarchical to accommodate varying levels of detail or knowledge. By incorporating detailed qualitative and quantitative information, a comprehensive threats and disturbances categorization can contribute to conceptual or spatially explicit knowledge and management assessments. The application of the framework and categorization to several threatening processes is demonstrated, and its relationship to current natural resource condition indicators is discussed. Threat evaluation is an essential component of ecological assessment and environmental management, and a standardized categorization enables consistency in attributing processes, impacts and their short- to long-term consequences. Such a systematic framework and categorization demonstrates the importance and usefulness of comprehensive approaches, and this approach can be readily adapted to management, monitoring and evaluation of other target ecosystems and biota.