Every September, Biodiversity Month shines a spotlight on why we must cherish and safeguard our diverse ecosystems. This is a chance to dive into the world of biodiversity, grasp its importance and learn how to protect it. In this blog, we’ll explore Australia’s unique biodiversity hotspots and why nature preservation is vital.
What is biodiversity and why should we care?
Biodiversity is a blend of “biological” (living things) and “diversity” (variety). It’s all about the variety of life on Earth. This diversity ensures clean air, water, robust ecosystems and sustains us with food and medicine.
Currently, we’ve identified only 1.2 million of an estimated 8.7 million species on Earth. This gap reveals countless undiscovered species. Globally, there are 36 biological hotspots, two of which are in Australia: Southwest Australia and the forests of eastern Australia.
Australia’s biodiversity hotspots
1. Southwest Australia (Kwongan)
Southwest Australia, isolated by deserts for millions of years, birthed unique plant species found nowhere else. Sadly, only 30% of its original vegetation remains due to agriculture. Remarkable species like the Albany pitcher plant, honey possum, and numbat call this place home.
2. Forests of East Australia
East Australia’s forests host over 2,144 plant species exclusive to this region. However, 77% of their habitat is lost. Among these, you’ll find rare creatures like Boyd’s Forest Dragon, the Yellow-Spotted Bell Frog and the ancient Wollemi pine.
How can we help biodiversity?
Everyone – governments, industries, corporations, communities, and individuals – can support Australia’s unique species by adopting sustainable practices. Start by learning about the species in your backyard and creating a habitat for them. For instance, websites like Backyard Buddies offer valuable guidance.
The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) plays a pivotal role in preserving Australia’s natural landscapes and biodiversity. FNPW collaborates with donors, local communities, First Nations groups, government agencies, corporations, and environmental experts to prioritize three areas:
National parks are vital for diverse ecosystems. FNPW has invested over $60 million since 2000 to acquire and expand parks, aligning with the Global Biodiversity Framework’s goal of protecting 30% of land and marine areas by 2030.
Each species plays a unique role and their loss impacts ecosystems and human well-being. FNPW actively works to protect habitats and vulnerable species, addressing Australia’s high mammal extinction rate.
Bushfires and floods have ravaged Australian wildlife habitats. FNPW’s goal is to plant one million trees in affected areas by 2025, creating wildlife corridors and mitigating climate change’s effects.
This month reminds us of Earth’s incredible diversity and the urgency of its protection. By understanding biodiversity, appreciating Australia’s unique hotspots and supporting organizations like FNPW, we can ensure a sustainable future for our planet’s remarkable biodiversity. Together, we make a difference, celebrating the beauty and importance of biodiversity year-round.