National Geographic News
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN EASTCOTT AND YVA MOMATIUK, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
The 2014 Living Planet Report gives an index that tracks the numbers of animals in selected populations of vertebrates—mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish—across the globe.
This "Living Planet Index" declined by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010, "a much bigger decrease than has been reported previously," according to the report.
The 52 percent figure refers to a general trend of vertebrate species populations shrinking, on average, to about half the size that they were 40 years ago, according to WWF spokesperson Molly Edmonds.
The report attributes the declines primarily to habitat loss and degradation, hunting and fishing, and climate change.
Though the new index received intense global media attention, establishing a broad trend for all animals is difficult—and controversial—because of the limited data on global wildlife populations. At least one prominent ecologist raised questions Tuesday about World Wildlife Fund's methods.
A Changing Picture
Two years ago, WWF put the same decline at 28 percent for nearly the same time period: 1970 to 2008. For this year's report, the group recalculated the index.
"This new index used a different methodology, taking vertebrate diversity into account. And we have more data than before," Edmonds told National Geographic by email.
The new method attempts to solve the problem of limited data on the world's wildlife. Even the 3,038 vertebrate species included in the report are just a fraction of the estimated 62,839 species that have been described around the world. The new index assigns a statistical weight to underrepresented groups to "provide a better representation of the results we would expect if a complete dataset was available—containing all vertebrate species," according to the report.
In temperate regions, for example, the index now shows a decline in wildlife, whereas in 2012 the index showed an increase. "This is because bird and mammal species dominate this dataset and are increasing on average," the report says. The new method gives more weight to reptiles, amphibians, and fish populations, which are largely declining, resulting in an overall loss for the region.
TO READ MORE VISIT http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/1409030-animals-wildlife-wwf-decline-science-world/
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and pulling away from it, and viewing it from a greater distance, you can understand why. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space.
Where Is The Great Barrier Reef?
The marine park stretches over 3000km (1800 miles) almost parallel to the Queensland coast, from near the coastal town of Bundaberg, up past the tip of Cape York. The reef, between 15 kilometres and 150 kilometres off shore and around 65 Km wide in some parts, is a gathering of brilliant, vivid coral providing divers with the most spectacular underwater experience imaginable.
A closer encounter with the Great Barrier Reef's impressive coral gardens reveals many astounding underwater attractions including the world's largest collection of corals (in fact, more than 400 different kinds of coral), coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over 1500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years.
To read more visit:
Article published by greatbarrierreef.org
Australia truly is the lucky country. Our bush, forests and deserts are amongst the most beautiful on Earth. Our oceans are vast and pristine, and our soil is some of the oldest and most fertile on the planet.
People of Australia have looked after this country for thousands of years, and science has identified what nature needs to survive and prosper. Yet, over recent decades, we've become accustomed to hearing stories of ecological devastation and probable collapse. Nobody has the right to destroy what we all depend on for survival; we must take care of our environment so it can take care of us.
That's why we're hard at work protecting our precious wild places, as well as tackling the causes of a changing climate that threatens both nature and people.
Artical written by The Wilderness soceity. To find out more about The Wilderness soceity or to donate click on the link, https://www.wilderness.org.au/protect-wilderness
Australian Wildlife Conservancy - saving threatened wildlife in places like the Kimberley, the Top End and central Australia.Â
AWC: a new model for conservation Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) was established more than 10 years ago because Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and a very high proportion of our surviving animals and plants (over 1,700 species) are listed as threatened with extinction.
- See more or donate at: http://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife.aspx
"Reversing the decline of mammals in northern Australia", LifeScientist.com.au - October 2014
The EcoFire project is leading the way in reducing the area burnt in wildfires and retaining old growth vegetation in an attempt to reverse the decline of native mammals in northern Australia.
Australia’s tropical savannas are one of the most fire-prone environments in the world due to the region’s long dry season - the savannas make up around 20% of the country’s landmass and 75% of the total area burnt each year. Recent research has implicated predation by feral cats as a major driver of mammal decline, but cat predation may be influenced by other factors such as fire. Fire can also have a direct impact on mammal numbers. Dr Graeme Gillespie, from the Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management, leads a research team that is part of the National Environmental Research Program within the Northern Australia Hub - a collaboration that involves more than 100 researchers and various partners. “The plight of native mammals is a complex problem, and we need evidence to deliver a solution to that problem,” Gillespie said in a statement. “Many people start fires without it being part of an overall plan to manage the landscape. We could increase the survival chances of native mammals by managing fire to reduce its frequency, extent and intensity.” Mammals can survive during and after some fires, but their ability to find cover and food, and to reproduce or retain their numbers, can be drastically reduced. Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) is one partner in the Northern Australia Hub that has been researching fire and fire management. Working with several collaborators, AWC’s EcoFire project has halved the area burnt in wildfires and doubled the area of old growth vegetation across a four million-hectare area in the Kimberley. Research undertaken at AWC’s Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary in the Central Kimberley has shown that fire is one threat which allows other factors like predation by feral cats to have a much bigger impact on native mammal populations. “Mammal mortality is likely to be higher after more intense fires because after an intense fire, extensive burnt ground offers few refuges and they are easily picked off by cats,” AWC Chief Scientist Dr Sarah Legge said. “A key success of EcoFire is its collaboration with Indigenous communities and pastoralists. By involving land managers in the research it helps them to see and manage the problem.” “Fire management protocols need to be evidence-based. They should also include targets that leave large areas unburnt for between three and 10 years, and ongoing monitoring.” Research partners in the Northern Australian hub include Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australian National University, The Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation, Charles Darwin University, CSIRO, Djelk Rangers (part of the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation), Griffith University, James Cook University, North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance, Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management, University of Sydney, The University of Western Australia, Warddeken Land Management Limited, Wunambal-Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation and University of Technology, Sydney. - See more at: http://lifescientist.com.au/content/life-sciences/news/reversing-the-decline-of-mammals-in-northern-australia-1146576693#sthash.pU3sEh8e.dpuf