Forests of eastern Australia
Though Australia is mostly desert, the tropical and temperate forests, savannas, and shrublands along the country’s eastern coast are some of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth, with thousands of plant species and more than 150 species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds found nowhere else.
Unfortunately, the continent’s forests are now being cleared at a rapid pace for livestock and agriculture, making it one of the world’s most at-risk deforestation fronts. But that’s not just bad news for trees. When trees and other vegetation are removed, sediment, fertilizer, and pesticides run off into the nearby Great Barrier Reef, where they smother coral reefs and pollute fragile marine ecosystems. Land-clearing also drives climate change, leading to rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching.
In Australia, WWF is working to increase native forest cover and protect threatened species by advocating for stronger laws against excessive land-clearing, in addition to championing grater protections for the Great Barrier Reef.
Originally posted 2018-08-30 12:00:00.