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…
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 in since then? How is that green and golden bell frog doing? Is Australia still losing its frogs and how can you help?
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 and discover the answer.
But hang on, what’s a global hectare?
What did your neighbourhood look like 10, 50, or 100 years ago? If you live on the edge of an expanding city or town, like many people do, it’s likely that there was a lot more natural forest, grassland, scrub and bush around then than there is today. What happened to the residents who were therethen? Can you restore your local area or back yard? Here are some tips.
People often say we have evolved beyond nature but it is our very progress and growth which has bound us closer to its fate.
The Richmond Birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) is one of Australia’s biggest and most spectacular butterflies. Just 100 years ago, these butterflies were abundant throughout greater Brisbane. Today they are gone. Not entirely extinct, but no longer in Brisbane. The reason is more than just building a city. It’s a story of habitat loss, isolation and invasive species.
We can give them the chance to return and we’ll explain how here.
We all know marine turtles lay eggs and don’t provide any parental care for their turtle hatchlings. The mothers do leave some food for the hatchlings though, as yolk in the eggs. But how healthy is this yolk?
Mammals suckle their young and when they do, they can pass environmental pollutants from their bodies to their offspring’s. But are toxins that maternal turtles accumulate when feeding, passed on to their turtle hatchlings within the eggs? And if so, does it affect the turtle hatchlings’ chances of survival?
When animals invade new places they either sink, swim, or just get along. Unfortunately, when an invader does well in its new land, it can have devastating consequences for the native animals and plants. Suddenly there is a new competitor or predator in the midst and the natives don’t have the skills, spines or teeth to compete or defend themselves. Evolution works over many generations and there’s rarely time to adapt. But people can help.
Understanding how animals interact may help us tip the ‘balance’ in favour of native Australian animals. Here’s one example from the ongoing battle against the invasive cane toad (Bufo marinus – a native of South America). Can meat ants and cat food slow them down?
This article describes Maungatautari, a volcano that’s become a native animal refuge in a sea of dairy pasture. New Zealanders have been first at many things. They may also be the first to create ‘islands on land’. That is, ‘ecological islands’ on land, anyway.
Australia is well known for it’s marsupials and many of them live in the trees. It can get windy, wet and cold living in a tree so a little hollow inside a tree makes a perfect den. Over 300 species of Australian vertebrates use tree hollows as a home for shelter, sleeping, nesting, and escaping predators! But where can they live in a new forest with few old trees?