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From Saving Seeds to Squirrel Gliders

Date: 28-Jul-10

Australia is one of only seventeen mega-diverse countries on earth. While covering just 10% of the globe, they together harbour 70% of the diversity of life on this planet. What an amazing natural wealth!

To think that we have identified only around two million species, just a fraction of the estimated 8 - 14 million species on our planet. And some of these known species like the squirrel glider are already threatened or vulnerable.

Take a moment to contemplate the variety of life that thrives outside your backdoor or on your balcony - perhaps there's an opportunity to enhance your local environment in this international year of biodiversity? Here are some ideas to inspire:

  • Digging up some lawn for a vegie patch (or even easier creating a no-dig garden bed) or installing a simple planter box of herbs could improve the lot of life in your backyard, not to mention your kitchen. The Seedsavers network, established in Australia in 1986, promotes the preservation of heirloom varieties of the plants we depend on through their activities and the establishment of Local Seed Networks  for the exchange of seeds and knowledge.
  • Organic gardening methods will further increase your backyard's biodiversity. Sustainable Gardening Australia has a wealth of tips and resources on their web site as well as links to local groups. Supporting organic producers when shopping is another way to promote biodiversity.
  • For those with a love of wildlife, planting local native plants, especially in the understorey, can bring a diversity of colour, birdlife and other wildlife, into your backyard. By sourcing local native plants that have been grown from seed collected in your region you'll also be helping maintain varieties that are adapted to your local conditions and increase biodiversity.
  • We live on a mega-diverse continent, but how's your local bushland fairing? Caring for the existing remnants of bushland in our increasingly urbanised world is of immense value to local wildlife, people and the planet. Maintaining or creating native corridors of vegetation to connect existing areas of intact bushland is of particular value in helping species adapt to the pressures of climate change. There are some fantastically inspiring projects which are using local action to link natural areas on a continental-scale, including the The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative (QLD, NSW, VIC), Habitat 141 (SA, VIC) and Gondwanalink (WA).
  • Join thousands of others across the nation this Sunday for National Tree Day and find out if there's a local group you can join for ongoing conservation activities.
  • Support initiatives such as the Boobook Declaration, campaigning to further the cause of biodiversity action in Australia.

National Tree Day is  a great example of how local action can have a national impact. We congratulate all of you local heroes who are already taking steps like these above to support biodiversity in your local area and Australia.

More information

Biodiversity 2010 website (Australia)

www.biodiversity2010.org.au

Conservation of Australia's biodiversity (Australian Government)

environment.gov.au/biodiversity/index.html

CSIRO Biodiversity and ecology overview

www.csiro.au/org/ps2w.html

Yale Environment 360

e360.yale.edu

Executives See Biodiversity as Key to Business Growth

PlanetArk.org/enviro-news/item/58961

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