Category - Environment

Mount Abrupt

Green Parks supports looking after our magnificent natural treasures and ensuring large amounts of land are protected from development and overuse.

Mount Abrupt

Kangaroo

Kangaroos lose habitat around urban fringes, often becoming trapped between new housing estates and major roads.

Kangaroo

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Atlas of Living Australia

Have you ever wondered what native flora and fauna exist in or inhabit your area?

Do you have kangaroos nearby? Have koalas been seen in your region? What snakes are you likely to find around your house? What native trees or plants are commonly seen around your place? The answers to these questions and many more are contained in an amazing and free online resource called Atlas of Living Australia.

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We can ‘rewild’ swathes of Australia by focusing on what makes it unique

Since colonisation, a dizzying array of Australia’s native species and ecosystems have been altered or removed altogether. It therefore seems natural to consider the idea of restoring what’s been lost – a process termed “rewilding”.

Now a global trend, rewilding projects aim to restore functional ecosystems. The rationale is that by reactivating the often complex relationships between species – such as apex predators and their prey, for example – these ecosystems once again become able to sustain themselves.

Rewilding has successfully captured the public interest, particularly overseas. Conservation group Rewilding Europe has a network of eight rewilding areas and a further 59 related projects, covering 6 million hectares in total.

The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in the United States remains the most recognised example of rewilding. The wolves reduced elk numbers and changed their behaviour, which allowed vegetation to grow and stabilise stream banks.

It’s not hard to see why rewilding is popular, given that it sounds a note of hope and inspiration amid the seemingly endless stories of despair over ecological disaster.

But in Australia, we need to do rewilding differently. The particular challenges we face with issues such as introduced species mean that, like Vegemite, our rewilding future must have a unique flavour.

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Stringybark is tough as boots (and gave us the word ‘Eucalyptus’)

Few eucalypts are as versatile, varied and valuable as messmate stringybark. It was the first eucalypt to be scientifically named, and in fact gives us the name “Eucalyptus”.

Gum trees had been seen and collected on earlier expeditions, but a specimen collected on James Cook’s third expedition to Bruny Island off the Tasmanian coast was sent to the British Museum, where the French botanist Charles Louis L’Heritier de Brutelle named it and then published it in 1788.

L’Heritier named the specimen Eucalyptus obliqua, and so messmate stringybark is the first named and now type specimen for all Eucalyptus species. Because of the little caps covering the buds of this specimen, the name eucalypt was derived from the Greek eu, meaning “well”, and calyptos, meaning “covered”. Meanwhile, the asymmetrical or oblique leaf base gave us the description obliqua.

The name stringybark comes from the fibrous stringy bark that grows on the trunk of the tree, but no one knows the origins of the name messmate, which is also applied to several other eucalypt species.

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