Sunday, March 30, 2008

Do or die for threatened Australian species

Sydney Morning Herald, by environment editor Marian Wilkinson: Australia needs to urgently identify land that can act as refuges for native wildlife and plants threatened by climate change and decide how to minimise the number of species that will face extinction, a disturbing report by the CSIRO has warned. While saving species should be a priority, the report finds, "it is almost certain that some species will become extinct in the wild".

The sweeping report highlights signs of climate change likely to impact on Australia's wildlife, such as the threat in the alps to the pygmy possum as reduced snow cover exposes it to predators while feral horses, pigs and rabbits prosper in the warmer temperatures.

In a major challenge to state and federal governments, the sweeping report by Michael Dunlop and Peter Brown calls for a re-examination of Australia's "core" conservation principles in the light of climate change. Instead of trying to prevent environmental change, the report says, governments and park managers will need to, "embrace the task of managing the change to minimise the loss"….

The forest kingfisher is now breeding twice per year, instead of once. Photo of forest kingfisher, Todiramphus macleayii, on Moreton Island by Glen Fergus, Wikimedia Commons

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