Flora and Fauna

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  • Topic: Australia, Habitat fragmentation, Habitat destruction
  • Pages : 8 (2471 words )
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  • Published : March 30, 2013
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Flora and Fauna|
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10/3/2013|

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Outline Australia’s unique flora and fauna:
Australia has a large variety of unique flora and fauna spread all over the continent, from coast to coast, including in the ocean. More than 80 per cent of the country’s flowering plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to Australia, along with most of its freshwater fish and almost half of its birds. Australia is home to more than 140 species of unique marsupials, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats and the Tasmanian devil, which is now found only in Tasmania. There are 55 different species of kangaroos and wallabies, native to Australia. Australia’s marine environment is home to 4000 fish species, 1700 coral species, 50 types of marine mammals and a wide range of seabirds. Most marine species found in southern Australian waters occur nowhere else. Australia has over 1000 species of Wattle and around 2800 species in the Myrtaceae family, (gum trees and eucalypts). Describe the threats to Australia’s flora and fauna:

Extinction
Since European settlement of Australia began, a little over 200 years ago, 18 species of Australian mammals and about 100 species of native plants have become extinct. Currently about 40 species of mammals and many hundreds of species of plants are threatened with extinction. These figures are among the worst in the world. Extinction is a natural ongoing process. However at the moment the majority of extinctions are caused by humans. We can clearly tell that it is the humans that are doing the damage, because of the unusually fast rate of extinction. The current rate of extinction in Australia is 100 times the background rate (naturally occurring rate of extinction). There are many things that cause extinction, some of these are: * Habitat loss

* Natural causes (flood, fire, drought)
* Introduced species

Picture Caption: This image shows the crisis that Australian flora and fauna are presently in. In this image the more red the region is, the more species in region are thought to be endangered and threatened. As we can see the species under the most threat reside around the capital cities and the coastal regions. This is because habitat has been cleared around the capital cities and higher numbers of threatened species. Also over 50% of Australia is uninhabitable so many plants and animals live in coastal areas because they cannot survive in central Australia. That is also why we might see higher threatened species rates on the coasts of Australia. Habitats under threat:

Habitat loss is currently the main cause of species extinction in Australia. The main causes of habitat loss in Australia are; agriculture, clearing for urban living, logging and mining. When an ecosystem has been dramatically changed by human activities, it may no longer be able to provide the food, water and shelter all animals need to survive. Every day there are fewer places left, wildlife can call home. Most native species cannot exist outside a natural ecosystem. Australia is one of the top ten land clearing nations in the world. While clearing rates are starting to decline, we are still clearing more vegetation then we are planting or are able to regrow naturally. This continuous trend threatens Australia’s environment and flora and fauna species. In addition clearing land increases the chances of erosion and sedimentation of waterways and reduces water quality, also dramatically affecting our flora and fauna. Introduced species:

One of the greatest threats to Australia’s Flora and Fauna is introduced species. Australia has a large number of introduced mammals and birds. Introduced frog species, have caused extinction of many native species, due to a massive change in the food pyramid. A prime example of an animal that is greatly damaging Australia’s native species is the Cane toad, which was introduced originally to destroy the harmful cane beetle. It is damaging Australia’s native...
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