By Euan Ritchie from Deakin University Melbourne Mar 2 (360info). The collapse of Australian ecosystems is getting little attention due to the increasing scrutiny on climate change. However, it is possible to save them. The endangered koala of Australia, which was listed in three Australian regions, New South Wales and Australia Capital Territory, in 2022, is far from being alone.
Around 230 years have passed since the European colonization in Australia. At least 39 native mammal varieties have been driven to extinction. The Australian continent is home to more than 1,900 endangered species. The collapse of ecosystems from the tropics to Antarctica including the Great Barrier Reef is evident.
Since decades, conservation biologists and ecologists have been warning about the devastation of nature. In 2019, an intergovernmental body confirmed the warnings of many: Earth is currently experiencing its sixth mass extinction event.
We are seeing extinction rates that are tens, hundreds, or thousands of times higher than we expected, based on the fossil record. This crisis is no less serious than climate change, but it gets far less attention.
Many people fail to recognize the importance of tackling climate change, environmental destruction, extinction and other issues in a holistic manner. The global attention given to climate change has been well-deserved. But climate change is only one dimension of the environmental crisis and extinction crisis that we face.
Without significant investments in conservation, habitat modification and destruction, invasive species, polluting organisms, and disease will all continue to be key threats. We need stronger and not weaker environmental legislation if we want to turn things around. We must confront the main cause of environmental decline if we want to stop it. Consumption and living in a way that is not sustainable are the key to stopping it.
Climate change, extinction, as well as environmental health, are all interconnected. Protecting forests on land and underwater helps to store carbon, which can be used to combat climate change. It is also home to many species. Restoring whale population can increase ocean productivity. What whales leave behind after they eat helps to fertilise microscopic phytoplankton. These microplankton capture carbon and drive foodchains. Rewilding is a method of restoring or protecting nature by returning species to their natural habitats. This is often called rewilding. Everything is interconnected and must be managed as such.
Investment is another key ingredient for achieving positive change. The better the conservation outcomes of countries that invest in it, the more they will do. It is necessary to establish conservation reserves and, equally important, to manage them. It costs money to monitor species numbers and the diversity among animals, plants, fungi, and other organisms within them.
The majority of land and sea are not protected by conservation, and many endangered species live on private property. They would be better protected if conservation efforts were to cover both public and private land. It would be a great investment to train people to conserve. Indigenous Ranger and Indigenous Protected Areas programs, for example, help to conserve native plants, animals, reduce invasive animal population, manage fire, and maintain links with culture and country. Likewise, undertaking pest animal control, revegetation, species reintroductions and other conservation-focussed actions, can create jobs in cities and regional towns.
It would cost approximately A$1.7billion per year to restore health to all threatened species in Australia. Australia currently spends approximately A$120 million per year on targeted threatened species conservation. It recently committed A$10million (or $100,000 per species) to 100 species that were deemed priority from the more than 1,800 species that are on the threatened species list.
Despite its enormous social, cultural, and economic value, Australian society seems to not see the environment as a priority area for investment. The question is, why? (360info.org AMS AMS
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.