The Decline of Biodiversity in Australia: We Want No More Extinction

The Ecological Society of Australia announced their dismay with the latest State of the Environment report: Australia’s biodiversity is continuing to decline.

The State of the Environment report has blamed extensive land clearing and current land-clearing policies for the accelerating decline of biodiversity in Australia.

Land clearing, in Australia, describes the destruction of native habitats, subsuming bush lands, forests and savannah for replacement with agricultural or urban use of the land. The State of the Environment report is commissioned every five years to monitor the effects of the dire effects of environmental activities such as these.

Professor of Terrestrial Ecology at Deakin university Don Driscoll says “the main pressures affecting the Australian environment today are the same as they were 5 years ago, when the last report was published.”

“Clearly there are major failures in regulation, in funding, and in policies that expand population growth.”

The flaws in management of environmental activities- and indeed the human population overall- have led to the alarming loss of certain species and ecosystems in Australia.

It has been 3.5 billion years since the advent of life on planet Earth. In this period, five major mass extinctions occurred, Dinosaurs vanished and humans emerged on earth. The emergence of humans was accompanied by an ongoing reduction in biodiversity and loss of genetic diversity. Since the emergence of our ancestors the hominina tribe, a myriad of animals and plants have become extinct in the past 200,000 years. Needless to say, humans have played a major role in this devastating phenomenon, generally through the destruction of other species’ natural habitats. The diversity of the flora and fauna is dwindling in comparison to the ever-growing population of mankind and it’s disregard for their environment. Extinction in Australia has been one of the highest in the world.

Australia is a continent bestowed with a unique range of flora from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests, and is known as a mega-diverse country with its manifold reptiles, endemic birds, mammals and unique biota. Australia has been an enormously biologically diverse country- we possess tremendous variability of species and ecosystems.

You might, if you’ve been living under a rock (pun not intended), wonder why biodiversity matters. The simple answer is that we as humans need our surrounding flora and fauna. They ensure our survival by providing food, medicines and fuel, plus many more resource forms. Serious action must be taken.

However, despite all the doom and gloom talk, of course there are ways to prevent the shrinking biodiversity.The ESA advocates the allocation of resources to environmental research and management action. Professor Driscoll also encourage citizens’ communal actions- whether it be citizen science, joining local park-care, or voting for a candidate who values Australia’s natural heritage.

Ongoing commitment from the Australian Government and citizen body is the only hope for eliminating biodiversity decline in our country.

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