Australian Ecosystems

By: Meg Maynes, Sean Campiglia, and Brynne Springer

Basic Info

Australia is home to many diverse ecosystems from islands to the outback, with many different species living in them.

"The Outback"

81% of Australia is taken up by Arid and Semi-Arid land known as " the outback". This land generally only receives a very small amount of rain per year (200-500 mm). However, some areas in the Northern Rangelands receive more rain. The animal species in Australia are a varied and unusual bunch.... These consist of lizards, Australian alligators, many snakes, koala bears, dingos, one hump camels,ostriches, platypus, wallabies,wombats, echidnas, and many peoples favorite, the kangaroo. Only very adaptive plants can survive in "the outback". To many peoples surprise, a variety of beautiful wild flowers grow here, and attract many tourists every year. Aside from that, various grasses that can survive with little water on the open planes of the outback live here too.

Other Ecosystems

In the 19% of land that is not taken up by "the outback" there are several more diverse ecosystems

Mangroves/Wetlands- These ecosystems are very important to Australia... They serve as a breeding area for many species, and act as a "sponge" for over flowing coast lines. The wetlands that are closer to the coast are filled with salt water, and the wetlands that are farther away from the coast have fresh water.
In the Australian wetlands there are multiple reptiles, birds, and mammals... Including the Platypus, and Eastern Water Rat.
Forest Ecosystem-

- 2 Types of forests: Dry forest and Rainforests

- Dry forests mainly consist of Eucalyptus Trees with a variety of birds and mammals

-Rainforest... This is a much more diverse area, with a huge canopy of diverse trees, and multiple reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, and water mammals. In the Australian wetlands there are multiple reptiles, birds, and mammals... Including the Platypus, and Eastern Water Rat.

Australia's Importance and Problems

Australia is home to more than one million species, many are found NOWHERE else in the world. If we change our interaction with Australia's wild life, we could end up harming many rare species. It is also a tourist attraction.
Australia is now threatened by pollution, tourists, human interaction, and oil spills. These things did not used to harm the area, but have now become a huge threat to wildlife.
Australia's natural areas have environmental values that we have an obligation to conserve and restore for future generations. They also have special aesthetic and cultural values, with both aquatic and land environments belonging to parts of the traditional culture of Australia's people.

For Example...

In 1859 Thomas Austin released 24 wild rabbits in Barwin Park, near Geelong, Victoria, Australia. The small Rabbit population expanded to cover Victoria and New South Whales. by the 1900s, the rabbits had reached the Northern Territory, and Western Australia. The problem with this, is that the rabbits destroyed large tracks of vegetation, which led to extinction of many species of plants. The loss of vegetation led to soil erosion,mans the exposed soil blew away, taking away valuable soil nutrients. The soil that eroded went into waterways, and is destroying aquatic ecosystems.