Ash dieback appears to a fact of life for the UK. (Image: David Bole)
Talking Nature usually focuses on Australia and the southern hemisphere and has talked about the importance of biodiversity here and here. So here is an article from our European earthlings about the invasive species they are dealing with.
Preserving the environment and strengthening Europe’s economies are often placed at odds but the truth is that each depends upon the other. One has only to look at the ash dieback outbreak in the UK to understand the economic perils of failing to preserve biodiversity. Continue reading →
A pristine part of Nature – the Nature we rarely see. (TalkingNature.com)
We often view Nature as separate from the modern urban environments we live in. Nature conjures images of pristine and remote wilderness like the Tarkine in Tasmania or the Milford Track in New Zealand. Unfortunately only a small proportion of us visit these places and even fewer children in their formative years experience these truly wild environments. When we don’t engage with or understand Nature, we can become apathetic towards conserving it.
Wild and pristine ecosystems often hold great beauty and importance but we must remember that Nature extends to our local parks and backyards – Nature does not stop at a world heritage boundary. The urban ecosystem can be a complex diversity of native plants and animals. With a bit of clever urban design and some help from its residents (that’s you!) that diversity can be enhanced and sustained and people can discover Nature where they live – thus, fending off apathy. That’s why we must consider conservation strategies that reach into our urban environments, not just our national parks.
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The brick pits in Sydney Olympic Park – home of the Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea). Image – jof3 Flickr CC
Way back at the turn of the century, a town called Sydney was getting ready to host the greatest show on earth, the Sydney Olympics. Aussie’s were proud and for a rare little frog, the planets aligned and it was thrust into the spotlight. Already a resident of the old brick pits in the Olympic site and sporting the Australian green and gold, fame was inevitable for the green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea). So, more than 10 years ago this little frog raised the profile of amphibian decline in Australia, but what work has been done for Australia’s frogs since then? How is that green and golden bell frog doing? Is Australia still losing its frogs? If so, how can we help?
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The iconic ‘Tassie devil’ (Sarcophilus harrisii), Australia’s largest extant marsupial carnivore, is in big trouble. Believed to have become extinct on the mainland some 400 years ago, the devil is now endemic only to Tasmania. In 1830 the Van Diemen’s Land company placed bounty on their heads but over a century later, ecological and ethical sense prevailed and they became a protected species. This protection saw their population rise to an estimated 250,000 devils in 1995. Yet now they face their biggest threat of all – Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
What is this disease and can the devil survive it? Continue reading →
How big are your boots? Do you have a big ecological footprint? (Flickr: siddhu2020)
Since conceived by two sustainability academics in the 1990s, the Ecological Footprint has been used as an environmental accounting device to measure the demand you place on Earth. I thought I’d measure my own Ecological Footprint; it only took five minutes to answer some simple questions before being bluntly informed by an online calculator that no less than three Earths would be required if everyone in the world lived like me – an alarming figure! Continue reading →
The variegated fairy wren. Courtesy of lerako.net
They say every picture tells a thousand words…beauty, ecology, life, connection, nature are just some of the words that enter my mind when taking in the very natural and ‘alive’ images of Australian birds captured by Nicolas Rakotopare. Continue reading →
Something strange is happening in the South Australian seas. Someone’s not turned up for their party.
The giant Australian cuttlefish can grow to one metre but lives for only two years.
Around this time of year the Australian giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama) gather along the South Australian coastline between False Bay and Whyalla to mate and spawn. These cuttlefish are cephelapods, an animal without a backbone. They are giants of their genus, they can grow to about a metre long from tentacle to tail and weigh over 5kg but they only live for 2 years! Continue reading →
This article is a special contribution from guest author Hayley Averell. If you’ve seen these birds in your back yard add your comments below because we’d love to hear about them. They are magnificent birds.
The Powerful owl. Could it be an umbrella? (Image: Greg Sharkey CC)
Australasia’s largest owl is found right on my doorstep, in the beautiful Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie region of New South Wales. The Powerful Owl, Ninox strenua, is a stealthy top predator, and more imposing than any of the common nocturnal birds you find in backyards. Living along the east coast of Australia, the Powerful Owl is nationally listed as Least concern, meaning it is considered a secure species, but in New South Wales and Queensland is listed as Vulnerable.
Scientific knowledge about the powerful owl is young and incomplete, but growing; and the future abundance of powerful owls depends on the growth of this scientific knowledge. So what do ecologists know about the powerful owl? What actions are needed to conserve these elusive predators? Continue reading →
Pale-headed rosella inspecting a TalkingNature nest box (TalkingNature CC SH-BY)
Everyone needs a place to live. In our ever expanding cities, people are always finding new places to live but often at someone else’s expense. It’s a competition for space and often it’s the native animals, the frogs, birds and mammals that lose the competition. They lose their natural habitats. But can we keep nature and wildlife around us somehow, can we offset this habitat loss? Continue reading →
In an effort to raise awareness of the plight of amphibians, SAVE THE FROGS! America’s first and only public charity dedicated exclusively to amphibian conservation, has declared Friday April 29th, 2011 the 3rd Annual ‘Save The Frogs Day’. Continue reading →