Oceania Countries

Australia Environment

TERRITORY: ENVIRONMENT

From the floristic point of view, as a country located in Oceania according to globalsciencellc, Australia is home to characteristic and unique species, the result of specific adaptations as well as long isolation from other continental areas; the biogeographical border with southern Asia, with which it communicates through the Australian island bridge, corresponds to the “Wallace line”, which passes through the Moluccas Sea (or to the more displaced “Weber line” which runs on the Makasar Strait). Among the most widespread and characteristic tree species is the eucalyptus, which occurs in a large number of varieties and which is a plant with large xerophilous adaptations. Xerophile are also the other more typical species, some of which are very singular and unique such as the bottle tree, the black boy, the banksiaand the waratah (Telopea speciosissima) etc. The vegetal associations are linked to the tropical climate, however they vary somewhat in relation to rainfall: in the eastern and northern rainy belt there is a tropical rain forest fringed on the coast by mangroves ; on the hills, and progressively, passing towards the S, up to Tasmania, there is the southern temperate forest, rich in species but dominated by several eucalyptus trees including some gigantic, such as Eucalyptus regnans, which also reaches 100 m. On the internal side of the Great Dividing Range begins the reign of sparse forests, savannahs which, due to the worsening of the aridity towards the interior, take on increasingly xerophilous characteristics and poorer forms of trees; among these the eucalyptus trees, the acacias and the casuarinas predominate. Over large spaces there are grassland areas (the so-called bush), scattered with solitary acacias or trees of specific xerophilic adaptation, such as the aforementioned bottle tree. However, the most extensive training is represented by the scrub, shrubby and bushy steppe, with different species, thorny acacias etc. In the southern areas that have a climate close to the Mediterranean one, there is a kind of scrub and, in the wettest areas, a typical eucalyptus forest (jarrah). The forest areas occupy a total of just under a quarter of the country’s surface. The originality of the vegetal mantle corresponds to that of the animal world, which hosts a limited number of Mammals, none of which, however, can be traced back to other continents. The most widespread species belong to marsupials, among which the kangaroo predominates, but quolls, bilbies, wallabies and wombats are also very common.(Phascolomys ursinus), which resemble small tame bears; the koala is endemic, while the monotremes to which the platypus and the echidna belong are very rare and uniquely Australian. The only aggressive animal is the dingo. On the other hand, the large carnivores that populate other continents are not present. Numerous and peculiar are the Reptiles, of which we note the great variety between lizards and snakes, spiders and birds including runners such as the emu, the jabirù, the brolga (of the Gruidi family), herons, pelicans, albatrosses., various parrots of the Cacatuidae family including the black cockatoo, the gang-gang (belonging to the genus Callocephalon), the rosella (of the Psittacidae family) and the kookaburra. The fauna of Australia constitutes the Australian zoogeographic region with that of New Guinea and the neighboring island groups. The biological equilibrium of the continent is no longer the original one, at least in the external areas where colonization has introduced different animal species, including rabbits, which have reproduced in large numbers in the steppes, becoming a real scourge. According to the WWF, one tenth of the Australian mammals have disappeared since the arrival of the Europeans and numerous other animals, often endemic, are at risk of extinction, among which there are some species of cockatoos, the Gouldian diamond, a colorful passerine belonging to the family of Estrildidae, quolls, bilbies and other marine and terrestrial species such as turtles, dolphins, albatrosses and sharks. Australia holds the record for the highest percentage of extinct mammals in the world. Global climate change also contributes to increasing concern for endangered species, which has important effects on this geographical area already affected by natural erosion phenomena (caused by constant winds and the increase in soil salinity). The introduction of new species, in particular the sheep for breeding, the not always correct practices widespread in agriculture and, more recently, the pollution due to emissions from industries and urban waste have caused the increase of this phenomenon and the risk of desertification. The country was hit in the early years of the new millennium by a long period of drought, which worsened between 2005 and 2006, the result of global warming of the planet, which caused damage to wild flora, agricultural land and pastures, inducing authorities to launch resource rationalization programs. Protected areas, which cover 15.5% of the island’s surface, are managed at different levels: territorial, state, federal. However, there is a common legislation, the they are managed at different levels: territorial, state, federal. However, there is a common legislation, the they are managed at different levels: territorial, state, federal. However, there is a common legislation, theEnvironment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), promulgated in 1999 and entered into force the following year, which establishes national guidelines relating to the protection of the environment, the safeguarding of biodiversity, the monitoring of private and public projects that have an impact on the environment and the ecosystem with a view to sustainable development, the management of sites of special national and international interest as well as some specific subjects such as migratory species, nuclear power and marine areas. The national reserve system is quite branched and comprises a total of 6 Commonwealth national parks and over 500 national parks throughout Australia, numerous protected indigenous areas, as well as several marine protected areas. L ‘ UNESCO has declared some Australian natural sites as World Heritage Sites: the Great Barrier Reef (1981), the Lord Howe Islands (1982), the Rainforests of the Australian East Coast (1986, 1994), the Wet Tropics of Queensland (1988), Shark Bay (1991), Fraser Island (1992), Riversleigh and Naracoorte Fossil Fields (1994), Heard and McDonald Islands (1997), Macquarie Island (1997), Blue Mountains Region (2000), Purnululu National Park (2003) and the Ningaloo coast (2011). Site of great international interest, the Great Barrier Reef is considered to be at risk, especially the area close to the north-east coast, due to the massive presence of tourist boats that can pollute a unique ecosystem, which is home to 400 types of coral (from branched to huge Acropore), 1500 species of fish and 4000 types of molluscs, including the largest known species of Tridachnids ; the increase in temperatures and the acidification of the oceans is producing a phenomenon of coral bleaching that causes their death.

Australia Environment