- Environment of Australia
The Australian environment ranges from virtually pristine Antarctic territory, rainforests to degraded industrial areas of major cities.
Major environmental issues in Australia include
whaling, logging of old growth forest, irrigationand its impact on the Murray River, Darling Riverand Macquarie Marshes, acid sulfate soils, soil salininty, deforestation, Soil erosion, Uranium miningand Nuclear waste, creation of marine reserves [http://www.nccnsw.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=64&Itemid=602] , air qualityin major cities and around polluting industries and infrastructure, pesticideand herbicideimpacts and growing of genetically modified food.
coal mining in Australiais contentious because of the effects of global warming on Australia, emissions to air from coal burning power stations, dust, subsidence, impact on rivers like the Hunter Riverand other water users, failure to adequately restore mined areas, and lack of sustainability. Climate changeand global warmingare of particular concern because of the likely effects of global warmingon agriculture, the Great Barrier Reefand tourism industry, human healththrough mosquito borne disease [http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/impacts/overview/pubs/overview37.pdf] . Sea level risecould also have a profound impact on coastal communities and waterfront suburbs. The range of rises forecast by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Reportwould be sufficient to have impacts in many areas, and the impact if the Greenland ice capmelts faster than forecast could be disastrous.
In urban areas
noiseand odourare major sources of complaints to environmental protection authorities.
Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it covers a diverse range of habitats, from alpine heaths to tropical
rainforests, and is recognised as a megadiverse country. Because of the great age and consequent low levels of fertility of the continent, its extremely variable weather patterns, and its long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia's biota is unique and diverse. About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are endemic. [cite web
url = http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/about-biodiversity.html
title = About Biodiversity
accessdate = 2007-09-18
publisher = Department of the Environment and Heritage
archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070205015628/www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/about-biodiversity.html
archivedate = 2007-02-05015628] Many of Australia's ecoregions, and the species within those regions, are threatened by human activities and introduced plant and animal species. The federal "Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999" is a legal framework for the protection of threatened species. Numerous protected areas have been created under the national
Biodiversity Action Planto protect and preserve unique ecosystems; 64 wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention, and 16 World Heritage Sites have been established. Australia was ranked 13th in the world on the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index.cite web | url = http://www.yale.edu/esi/b_countryprofiles.pdf | title = 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index (pg.112)| publisher = Yale University| accessdate = 2007-05-20]
Most Australian woody plant species are evergreen and many are adapted to fire and drought, including many
eucalyptusand acacias. Australia has a rich variety of endemic legumespecies that thrive in nutrient-poor soils because of their symbiosis with Rhizobiabacteria and mycorrhizal fungi. Well-known Australian fauna include monotremes (the platypusand echidna); a host of marsupials, including the kangaroo, koala, wombat; and birds such as the emuand kookaburra. The dingowas introduced by Austronesian people who traded with Indigenous Australians around 3000 BCE.Savolainen, P. et al. 2004. A detailed picture of the origin of the Australian dingo, obtained from the study of mitochondrial DNA. "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America". 101:12387–12390 PMID ] Many plant and animal species became extinct soon after first human settlement, including the Australian megafauna; others have become extinct since European settlement, among them the Thylacine.cite web|url=http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/additional/persecution/image_6.htm|title=Additional Thylacine Topics: Persecution|publisher=The Thylacine Museum|date=2006|accessdaymonth=27 November |accessyear=2006] cite web|url=http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/ts-day/index.html|title=National Threatened Species Day|publisher=Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Government|date=2006|accessdaymonth=21 November |accessyear=2006]
Australia is the second driest continent (after Antarctica), and frequent droughts have led to the introduction of water restrictions in all parts of Australia.
Water restrictions in Australia"
Drought in Australia"
Carbon dioxide emissions
Australia is the number one in world's
per capita carbon dioxide emissions: [ [http://carma.org/region CARMA, Geographic Regions] ]
Tons of CO2 per year per capita:
*United States: 8.2
*United Kingdom: 3.2
State of the Environment reports
Commonwealth of Australia
[http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/1996/index.html 1996] [http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2001/index.html 2001] [http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2006/index.html 2006]
New South Wales
[http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/soe/soe2003/ 2003] [http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/soe/soe2006/ 2006]
Australian Capital Territory
* [http://www.acfonline.org.au/ Australian Conservation Foundation]
* [http://www.greenpeace.org/Australia Greenpeace Australia Pacific]
* [http://www.population.org.au/ Sustainable Population Australia]
* [http://www.ecomedia.org.au/ eco media]
* [http://www.envirotalk.com.au/ Envirotalk - Australia's Largest Environmental Discussion Forum]
Conservation in Australia
Climate change in Australia
* List of wettest known tropical cyclones in Australia
List of Australian environmental books
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