Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories
Australia is a lucky country in terms of biodiversity. Unlike many other countries, Australia still has much of its biodiversity intact. Australia is one of about 12 megadiverse countries which together contain almost 70% of the world's species, and many of Australia's species are found nowhere else.
It is in Australia's environmental and economic interests to conserve our biodiversity. Many of our primary industries are directly or indirectly dependent on maintaining biodiversity, and the potential benefits of biodiversity for science, medicine and agriculture are enormous.
Conserving biodiversity is not just about conserving endangered species. It is very much about 'the bigger picture'. It is about conserving entire habitats and ecosystems; about researching and understanding the complexity of ecological relationships; about planning and management for ecologically sustainable use of our resources; and importantly, about individual and community responsibility.
Recognising its special role, Australia is one of over 30 countries which have ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Convention deals at a global level with the full range of biological diversity conservation, its sustainable use, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from this use.
A National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity is currently being finalised outlining actions on conservation, ecologically sustainable use, the management of threatening processes, improving knowledge and community involvement. These actions will greatly contribute to the quality of life of Australia's future generations.
Across Australia, governments, community groups, industry and individuals are engaged in wide-ranging activities aimed at conserving biodiversity, but much remains to be done. Schools also have a vital part to play by encouraging students to examine and to be informed about biodiversity issues.
How to use these materials
These resource materials - an activity sheet and teachers' notes - were developed for the travelling 'Conserving Australia's Biological Diversity' display. The material is aimed at lower secondary level. It is important to discuss what biodiversity is and why it is important before viewing the display. The activity sheet is designed to be used on excursions to view the display, but, if the display is unavailable, most activities could be undertaken using the display text included in the teachers' notes as reference. All sheet activities can be followed up in the classroom and used as the basis for further lessons. The teachers' notes also include outlines for other biodiversity activities, a glossary, and references.
Conserving Australia's Biological Diversity
Panel 1: What is biological diversity?
Biological diversity is the variety of life on earth. This includes all the different plants, animals and micro organisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems of which they form part, on land and in water.
Biological diversity is constantly changing. It is increased by new genetic variation and reduced by extinction and habitat degradation. The concept of biological diversity emphasises the interconnections within the living world.
Biological diversity is often considered at three levels:
- genetic diversity is the variety of genetic information contained in all the plants, animals and micro-organisms on earth;
- species diversity is the variety of living organisms on earth;
- ecosystems diversity relates to the variety of habitats, communities and ecological processes on earth.
Captions: The long-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis longicaudata) is a tiny carnivorous marsupial.
Marsupials in Australia have spread into a very wide range of niches.
Harlequin bugs (Tectocoris diophthalmus). These colourful bugs suck the sap of Hibiscus and related plants. Only about half of the estimated 130,000 insects in Australia have been named.
Panel 2: Australia's biological diversity
The long isolation of Australia over much of the last 50 million years and its northward movement have led to the evolution of a distinct biota. Significant features of Australia's biological diversity include:
- A high percentage of endemic species (that is, they occur nowhere else). More than 80% of Australia's flowering plants and land mammals are endemic, and 88% of our reptiles, 45% of our birds and 92% of our frogs occur nowhere else.
- Wildlife groups of great richness. Australia has an exceptional diversity of lizards in the arid zone, many ground orchids, and a total invertebrate fauna estimated at 200,000 species with more than 4,000 different species of ants alone. Marsupials and monotremes collectively account for about 56% of native terrestrial mammals in Australia.
- Wildlife of major evolutionary importance. For example, Australia has 12 of the 19 known families of primitive flowering plants, two of which occur nowhere else. Some species, such as the Queensland lungfish and peripatus, have remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of millions of years.
- Refuge habitats. For a number of once widespread species, Australian habitats offer their best chance of survival. These species include the dugong, the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle.
Captions: Australia has about 18,000 species of flowering plants, many of which occur nowhere else in the world. The south-west of Western Australia is a floristically rich area. There are 500 species of eucalypts, found from the snowline to the coast, in deserts, swamps and flood-plains. River red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) have the widest distribution.
Panel 3: Benefits of conservation
Biological diversity provides us with all of our food and many medicines and industrial products.
Biological diversity has great potential for developing new and improved products for the future. Only about 20% of Australia's plant species have been investigated so the potential to discover useful products and drugs is considerable.
Biological diversity provides and maintains a wide array of ecological "services". These include provision of clean air and water, soil, food and shelter. The quality of our life and our economy is dependent on these "services".
Conservation of biological diversity contributes to spiritual, ethical, recreational and aesthetic values.
Australia is suffering losses in production from environmental degradation and is spending considerable sums on environmental repair. Action to conserve biological diversity will reduce future environmental and economic costs.
Captions: Natural ecosystems are a major attraction for tourism and recreation. The rainforests of northeast Queensland are the natural habitat of the macadamia nut. Food products from the macadamia nut industry, an example of the economic benefits of biological diversity.
Panel 4: Threats to biological diversity
In the past 200 years most Australian ecosystems have been modified, genetic diversity has been reduced, and about 140 species of animals and plants are known to have become extinct. The major threats to biological diversity are:
- Habitat modification and fragmentation. Fragmentation of habitat reduces its resilience and increases the possibility of chance extinction. Many wetlands and coastal ecosystems have been modified, about 75% of our rainforests cleared or degraded, and forest cover has halved, leaving only 5% of the continent covered.
- Introduced species. There are now about 2,000 weed species in Australia, and many vertebrate pests such as foxes, cats, goats and pigs. These species have few predators or diseases to control them and many have increased in number and displaced or led to the decline of native species.
- Exploitation. Extensive grazing of certain vegetation communities has reduced the biological diversity of rangelands. Many fish stocks are also over exploited.
- Pollution. Pollution can cause localised, severe effects such as the degradation of freshwater ecosystems by excess nutrients. Long-term climate change arising from greenhouse gases may have impacts on ecosystems such as alpine areas.
- Underlying causes. The inefficient use of biological resources, undervaluation of ecological processes, poor management practices and lack of awareness are significant contributors to the loss of biological diversity.
Captions: Blue-green algal blooms, caused by excessive nutrient input, release toxic chemicals which degrade ecosystems and kill wildlife. The artichoke thistle :(Cynara cardunculus) is displacing native grassland species. Cats are known to kill more than 200 native species, some of which are endangered.
Panel 5: Planning and management
The conservation of biological diversity depends on good planning and management of biological resources and areas, irrespective of tenure. Important elements include: knowledge of values, uses and impacts; coordination between owners, users and the community; consistent policies and standards; and improved skills.
To be effective, planning and management need to be integrated and implemented on different scales - national, regional and local. Examples include:
- the development of national policies for the management of Australia's biological resources such as for fisheries;
- catchment management such as for the Murray-Darling Basin, the Wimmera catchment and the Shannon River Basin;
- regional approaches to protected area identification and management such as for the Australian Alps;
- whole farm planning linked to regional or catchment plans.
Captions: The conservation of native vegetation is important for water quality, soil stability and species habitat and breeding grounds. Public information helps encourage community participation in conservation activities. Farm soil salinity surveys by the Tragowel Plains community, Victoria, as a part of whole farm planning. Return of Murray cod (Maccullochella peeli) A moratorium on cod fishing and habitat rehabilitation are helping to re-establish cod populations. The western rock lobster (Panulirus cygnus) industry is an example of a well researched and managed fishery. Protection of remnant vegetation is an important aspect of integrated management, at either a whole farm, regional or catchment scale.
Panel 6: What can individuals do?
There are many things that individuals can do to help conserve our unique biological diversity. For example:
- Grow plants native to the local area in your garden.
- Properly dispose of garden waste, aquarium and pond waste.
- Protect local wildlife by controlling the activities of pets - for example, fitting cats with a bell, de-sexing pets and keeping them on your property at night.
- Purchase environment-friendly cleaning agents - for example, phosphate-free detergent.
- Recycle or carefully dispose of packaging - rubbish can kill wildlife.
- Make your voice heard - respond to management and planning proposals that affect reserves and remnant bushland in your local area.
- Join a group to help with conservation - for example, park-care groups, landcare groups.
- Have a "minimal impact" when visiting bushlands - for example, take care with camp fires and do not collect plants or animals.
- Help protect marine and aquatic species - for example, by catching no more than you need.
Captions: Community volunteers assisting with wildlife research. A penguin strangled by discarded plastic. Community tree planting.
See display panel 1. What is biological diversity?
Aim: To promote the understanding of the concept of biodiversity and its many meanings.
As biodiversity is a word that refers to the multiplicity of things that make up the variety of life on earth, the incorrect answers are - a washing powder, a biological computer game, and environmentally friendly toilet paper.
Ask students to brainstorm other bio-answers that are aspects or examples of biodiversity, e.g. butterflies with different wing patterns, rainforests in Queensland and rainforests in the Amazon, people with blue eyes and people with brown eyes, Great Danes and Blue heelers.
See display panel 3, Benefits of conservation
Aim: To explore some of the benefits of biodiversity, and the sources of these benefits.
Some bio-benefits: clean water, fresh air, healthy soil, cultural identity, inspiration, food and drink, medicines and vaccines, shelter (timber), clothing, recreation, energy (wood and dung).
Ask the class to brainstorm a list of benefits and identify what aspect of biodiversity the benefits come from. Ask what happens if biodiversity can no longer provide any of these benefits.
Students can select one of the listed bio-benefits for further research.
See all display panels
Aim: To introduce the meanings of some of the ecological terms used in the display.
Ask students to check the correct answers and discuss any of the words they had problems with.
Biodiversity, the variety of life on earth, is the basis of our healthy planet. It includes all the different species, their genes and the ecosystems of which they form a part. In Australia, the biggest dangers to biodiversity include habitat destruction, pollution, introduced pest species and over exploiting our natural resources. Australia's biodiversity includes a large number of unique and endemic species. To help conserve biodiversity, we must plan and manage our natural places and the species that live there.
Bio-poet and didn't know it
See all display panels
Aim: To explore personal feelings and impressions about conserving biodiversity.
Ask students to share their poems. Are there any common or major themes? Discuss why.
Students can illustrate their poems and compile copies of the class poems and illustrations in a small book.
Here are some bio-poem examples:
blue, deep, stickly, prickly,
ever changing, renewing blue kingfisher flash,
source of all life across an emerald stream
See all display panels
Aim: To explore examples of threats to Australia's biodiversity pictured in the display.
Answers: Algae, eucalypts, rainforests, thistle, harlequin
Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth.
Ask students to check their answers.
Ask students to debate where humans fit in the biodiversity picture. Are we part of biodiversity, or are we separate? What are the components of biodiversity? How should we act in order to conserve biodiversity?
See display panel 6, What can individuals do?
Aim:To encourage specific actions to conserve biodiversity.
Ask groups of students to share their bio-solutions and make a combined list.
Some bio-issues may have similar solutions. Discuss why.
Each group can undertake a commitment to follow through a selected bio-solution and report back to the class at intervals on how they are carrying out their commitment. The class can maintain a progress chart during reporting sessions.
See display panel 5, Planning and management, and panel 6, What can individuals do?
Aim: To promote individual conservation action and explore ways the community can conserve biodiversity.
Ask the class to share and discuss the bio-actions they wrote in the signs. Some students and their families may already be doing some of these bio-actions. Ask them to share their experiences.
The community is not just made up of individuals, but includes many groups, associations and organisations (e.g. the fishing industry, sport fishermen, the mining industry, the timber industry, the manufacturing industries, local councils, governments, conservation groups, schools and scientists). Ask students to choose a community group and research what bio-actions members of the groups can take to help conserve biodiversity.
See display panel 2, Australia's biological diversity, and the biodiversity fact sheet for some biofacts.
Aim: To emphasise the importance of Australia's biodiversity.
Share student's 'bubble' facts. Each student can research one of the bio-facts on why Australia's biodiversity is so important. Individual research can be combined as a class project - as a book, or series of posters, or a series of lectures/presentations/debates.
Aim: To explore the concepts of change, variation and adaptation in ecosystems.
Ask the class to imagine what the landscape around the school may have looked like in the past or may look like in the future. Students can decide upon landscape possibilities by researching local history, geography, and how and if the land was used/will be used by humans.
Ask groups of students to create a mural by working on panels depicting the school landscape: 100 million years ago, 1,000 years ago, 100 years ago, now, and 100 years in the future. Ask them to describe the major forces shaping the landscape in their mural sections and to discuss the effects of humans on the landscape.
Students could undertake some creative writing exercises using the time travelling theme by writing a story or a play about the adventures of a group of children who find a way to time travel back through their local landscape. They could also write some diary entries of a Day in the Life 100 years ago, or 1,000 years ago.
Aim: To encourage awareness of current biodiversity issues.
Discuss with students that even though the word 'biodiversity' seldom appears in media articles, most articles dealing with conservation, land use, farm management, new breeds of plants and animals, genetic engineering, ecotourism, biocontrol, development, just to name a few, are in fact very relevant to discussions on biodiversity. Ask students to brainstorm a list of key words relating to biodiversity.
Ask students to keep a news watch for such articles about topics that affect biodiversity and to maintain a class scrapbook. Articles can be used for class discussion and research activities.
Aim: To celebrate the beauty and diversity of life on earth.
Provide the class with pictorial resources (old magazines, etc.) and ask them to create their own Australia's Biodiversity collage, mural or poster.
Aim: To encourage awareness and understanding of current biodiversity issues.
Ask students to research essay topics on bio-projects/case studies.
Some topics: Importance of genetic diversity to the macadamia industry; Impact of feral animals; Endangered species; Biocontrol of introduced pests and weeds; Fish stocks and management; Climate change and biodiversity; Bio-cycles (water, carbon, nitrogen); Significance of Australia's biodiversity; Managing domestic pets; Rock lobster fisheries; Genetic engineering in CSIRO crop research projects; Costs of environmental repair.
Aim: To investigate local examples of biodiversity and to encourage students to take a closer look at biodiversity around them.
Required tools: coat hanger, pens, graph paper, pipettes, tweezers, collecting jars, magnifying glass.
Select 3-4 accessible areas (the schoolyard, local reserve, creek bank, paddock, nearby national park etc.) to survey and count the numbers of species found there. Ask students to choose different ecosystems or habitats, e.g. north or south facing slopes. Point out that the numbers of different kinds of species they may see are only an indication of the biodiversity of each site and that there will still be many unknown or unobserved species who live on the survey site, i.e., micro organisms, animals on the move, nocturnal animals.
To conduct a mini survey, give students a wire coat hanger and pull it into a shape. Ask them to toss the coat hanger into the air (away from other students) and map the area it falls upon by listing all the living things found within the wire. (Don't forget animals which live in the soil). Releat in a different location.
To conduct a larger survey, students can map a transect or count species in a S m square area. Surveys are just one of the ways to measure biodiversity. Compare findings and ask students to propose reasons for the differences between biodiversity levels of species between sites.
Aim: To look at the cultural significance of Australian biodiversity.
Symbol: something used or regarded as standing for something else.
Show students examples of symbols or logos incorporating Australian animals and plants, and ask why they think these symbols were chosen to represent those organisations or concepts.
Australian plants and animals are often used as logos/symbols for marketing products. Ask the students to collect pictures of logos/symbols from magazines, food labels, stamps etc. and bring them into class. Ask students to pick their favourite from those collected and answer the following questions.
What is your favourite Aussie logo/symbol? What does it represent, or what product does it advertise? What qualities make it a good logo/symbol for what it represents? Where is the logo/symbol species found in Australia? Is it rare or threatened, and if so, what is being done to conserve it?
The class could create a collage of the collected logos/symbols.
Ask students to choose a species to become a symbol to promote a particular biodiversity issue (e.g. protecting habitats, landcare, endangered species, wildlife smuggling prevention, remnant vegetation, pollution control).
Using their selected species, students can:
- design a logo
- design a stamp
- design and make a badge by covering the symbol with clear contact and attaching a safety pin.
Aim: To promote local biodiversity action through active teamwork.
Ask students to design and undertake a project to increase the biodiversity of the school grounds.
- Select a section of the school grounds and brainstorm ways the area can be improved and its biodiversity increased.
- Draw up a list of specific objectives for the project, e.g. to plant 10 locally native trees, 20 locally native shrubs and 30 locally native grasses, to encourage wildlife. Plan for whole plant communities.
- Obtain permission from the school administration to plan and undertake a project on this site.
- Mark out the area and fence it off if necessary.
- Make an inventory of all species in the area and the soil conditions, light and shade, moisture levels.
- Consult local experts (see References).
- Drawing on inventory information and advice from local experts, make an action plan for the project. Break the plan into stages, and list actions for each stage. Don't forget to include ongoing monitoring. Cost each stage and work out time requirements.
- Allocate group and individual responsibilities and tasks. Work out cost effective ways to achieve the plan (donations, voluntary work). Ask for help from parents and local community groups - there may even be grant money available.
- Begin by photographing the site and then remember to photograph it at the end of each stage.
Evaluate the project six months after completion. Has the project increased site biodiversity and to what degree?
School Biodiversity Day
Aim: To promote biodiversity information and awareness within the school.
Ask students to plan, promote and carry out a day of activities focussing on biodiversity.
School Bio-Day steps
- Ask permission from teachers and the Principal to declare a 'Biodiversity Day' in the school.
- Class by class, brainstorm the types of biodiversity messages needed to get across. Each class could adopt a biodiversity theme: e.g. Iandcare, pollution, natural resource management, national parks, remnant vegetation, native gardens, managing domestic pets, feral animals, introduced weed pests, wildlife smuggling, bio-life cycles, genetic resources, etc.
- Brainstorm the types of activities that will be effective ways to promote information and understanding about the chosen theme.
- Allocate jobs and responsibilities to groups and individuals. Don't forget to include: venue preparation; publicity; liaison with teachers, the Principal, parents and the community; and, most important, evaluation. In evaluation, ask what worked? What was popular? What caused the most debate? What was the most effective? What was too much trouble? Would you have the day again?
Some activity suggestions
- Prepare posters on biodiversity topics. Place them around the school with a speaker to explain the poster.
- Produce a biodiversity drama and present it during the lunch hour.
- Arrange for outside experts to come to the school and talk on biodiversity topics (see References).
- Appoint photographers and press reporters for the day to record the activities for evaluation and future planning.
- Prepare placards to hang around the school identifying products from natural resources, e.g. chalk, paper, timber, blackboards, etc. Draw a map with clues and hold a competition for the correct answers. Draw a winner from the correct entries and present with a suitable bio-prize (e.g. a locally native tree seedling).
- Create orchestral instruments from bio-things; seed shakers, leaf rustlers, water trickling from bottle to basin, shell rattlers, and perform a piece of bio-music.
- Prepare biodiversity statements to deliver as speeches from 'soapboxes' at various points about the school.
- Organise a biodiversity poetry competition. Winners can recite their poems at lunch time.
- Contact the local press and arrange a photo story for them.
- Conduct bio-tours around high and low biodiversity sites in the school grounds.
- Prepare models of some vital ecosystems e.g. wetlands, mangroves, rainforests, oceans. Use recycled materials to make the models - nylon stockings, cardboard, plastic containers and packaging.
- Construct biodiversity food web mobiles to demonstrate interconnections.
- Create a school biodiversity mural with each class producing a section to illustrate their biodiversity theme.
- Have a VIP (e.g. Iocal alderman, local Member of Parliament) plant a locally endangered native plant species in the grounds.
The display and the resource material aim to introduce the concept of biological diversity (biodiversity) and its importance from an Australian perspective and to develop a positive ethos towards conserving biodiversity.
Study of biodiversity is relevant to most subject areas including Science and Geography. Specific subject areas in lower secondary and Year 11 subjects are listed below.
Geography: Year 11: Unit 1 - Changing environments; Year 12: Unit 3 - Resource use and management; Unit 4 -
Power, people and place.
Junior Geography: National Parks.
Environmental Studies: Years 11 and 12: all units, especially 1-4.
Agriculture and Horticulture: Years 11 and 12.
Science: Years 10 and 11: Unit I - Using resources to meet human needs.
Australian Studies: Years 11 and 12: Units 3 and 4 - Australia - a changing culture.
Biology: Year 11: Unit I - Organisms and their environments.
Contemporary Society: Year 11: Unit 3 - Community and society.
General: Art, English, Communication, and Outdoor Education.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Geography: Year 11: Australians and their biophysical environment; Contemporary issues.
Biology: Years 11 and 12: Core Section: Ecology; and Electives: The Australian environment, and Human environmental.
Chemistry: Year 11: Chemistry and the environment.
Aboriginal Studies: Year 11: The core study.
Applied Studies: Years 11 and 12: 1 Unit Course - The Environment Module.
Environmental Studies: OAS Course No. 4, Units 1, 2 and 3.
General Studies:Years 11 and 12: Unit 2 - The environment.
General Science: Years 11 and 12: 2 Unit Option; Unit 4 - Natural and Human Communities; Unit 7 - The Management of Resources; Depth Studies, e.g. B - People despoiling the environment; and B 13 - The aquatic environment, and B15 - The diversity of terrestrial environments.
Marine Studies: OAS Course No. 6.
Visual Arts: Year 11.
Junior Science Subjects.
Junior Environmental Education.
Junior Social Science.
Geography: Year 11: The Australian environment; Australians and their biophysical environment.
Geography: Junior: Australia.
Geography: Years 11 and 12: Unit III - Australian Geographical Inquiries; Unit V - The Living Environment;
Unit VI - People and the Environment;
Unit IX - Studies in Physical Geography.
Social Education: Year 10.
Biological Science: Year 11: Core Topic I - Organisms; 2 - Ecosystems; 4-Outdoor Studies; Optional - Biogeography.
Multi-strand Science: Year 11: Core Topic 2 - Science, technology and society; 3-Resource management; 6 - Environmental studies.
Marine Studies: Years 11 and 12: Part B - Core and options.
Geography: Year 11: Australian landscapes; World environmental issues.
Practical Geography: Year 11: Units I, II and Options.
History: Year 11: Unit 2 - Work, the economy and the environment.
Local Area Studies: Year 11.
Biology: Year 11: Units 2 and 3.
Current Events: Year 11.
Junior Science Subjects
Geography in action:
Northern Territory Studies:
Agriculture: Years 10 and 11.
Science: Years 9 and 10: Study of a local area.
Geography:Stage 1: Extended Subject Framework.
Aboriginal Studies: Stage 1: Extended Subject Framework.
Australian Studies: Stage 1: Extended Subject Framework.
Biology: Stage 1: Extended Subject Framework.
Environmental Studies: Stage 1: Extended Subject Framework.Years 11 and 12: Conservation and the Coast.
Marine Studies: Years 11 and 12: Conservation and the Coast
Ask the experts
Biodiversity information and advice is available from many agencies.
For general biodiversity information, contact: Community Information Unit
Department of the Environment, Sport & Territories (DEST)
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601, Ph: 008 803 772
For national and regional biodiversity information, contact environment agencies, both locally, and in capital cities:
- Australian Nature Conservation Agency 06 2500200
- Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage
- New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service
- ACT Parks and Conservation
- Tasmanian Department of Parks, Wildlife and Heritage
- Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory
- Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management
- Victorian Department of Conservation and Environment
- South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service
Helpful community organisations include:
- Greening Australia
- The Conservation Council in each State
- Society for Growing Australian Plants
- Threatened Species Network
- Australian Conservation Foundation
Also check the Yellow Pages listings under 'Organisations - Conservation and Environmental' for local and national groups.
The environment branch of your local council may be able to help.
Expert advice may also be obtained from appropriate university or TAFE departments, museums, zoos, and herbariums, Landcare groups, and local native plant nurseries.
Programs such as Frogwatch and Saltwatch may be operating in your State or Territory.
Arthington, A. H. and Hegerl, E. J. 1988. The Conservation Status of Australia's Wetlands, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1992. Australia's Environment - Issues and Facts, ABS, Canberra.
Banks, M., 1989. Conserving Rainforests, Wayland, Melbourne. Secondary.
Biodiversity Unit, 1993. DEST, Biodiversity and its Value. Secondary
Blakers, M., Davies, S. J. J. F., and Reilly, P.N., 1985. The Atlas of Australian Birds, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
Bonner et al, 1989. The Global Focus: People and Environment in Change, Jacaranda Wiley, Milton. Upper secondary.
Boyden, S., Dovers, D., and Shirlow, M., 1990. Our Biosphere under Threat - Ecological Realities and Australia's Opportunities, Oxford University Press, Melbourne. Upper secondary.
Breidahl, H., 1987. Ecology: the Story of Life, the Earth and Everything.Macmillan, Sydney. Upper primary.
Cameron, J. I., and Elix, J., (eds.) 1991. Recovering Ground: A Case Study Approach to Ecologically Sustainable Rural Land Management, Australian Conservation Foundation, Melbourne.
Cocks, D., 1992. Use With Care: Managing Australia's Natural Resources in the 2Ist Century,NSW University Press, Sydney.
Cogger, H. G., 1992. Reptiles of Australia, Reed Books, Melbourne.
Creach, C., and Atkinson, K., 1986. The Ones That GotAway: Australia's Introduced Animals and Plants, Methuen Australia, Sydney. Upper primary.
CSIRO Division of Entomology, 1991. The Insects of Australia Vol I and 11, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
CSIRO Australia, 1984. Forest Trees of Australia, Thomas Nelson, Melbourne.
Figgis, P., (ed.) 1985. Rainforests of Australia, Weldons Pty Ltd, Sydney.
Frith, C., and Frith, D., 1986. Australian Tropical Rainforest Life, Tropical Australia Graphics, Brisbane. For lower secondary.
Gilpin, A., 1990. An Australian Dictionary of Environment and Planning, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
Gould League of Victoria publications: Numerous environmental activities, stickers and books, especially suitable for primary and lower secondary.
Hayles, C.,The Importance of Biodiversity, World Wildlife Fund, Sydney.
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment, Recreation and the Arts (HRSCERA) 1992: Biodiversity: the Contribution of Community-based Programs, and 1993. Biodiversity: the role of protected areas. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra,
Kennedy, M., 1990. Australia's Endangered Species, Simon and Schuster, Sydney.
Malcolm, S., 1989. Local Action for a Better Environment, Malcolm, Melbourne. For primary and secondary students.
McComb, A. J., and Lake, P. S., (eds.) 1988. The Conservation of Australian Wetlands, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Mercer, D., 1991. A Question Of Balance: Natural Resources Conflict Issues in Australia, The Federation Press, Sydney. Upper secondary.
Miller, G. T., 1992. Living in the Environment, 7th Edition, Wadsworth, Belmont, California. Upper secondary.
National Museum of Australia, 1983. The Complete Book of Australian Mammals, Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
Penny, M., 1988. Endangered Animals, Wayland, Melbourne. For middle primary.
Recher, H. F., Lunney, D., and Dunn, I., 1986. A Natural Legacy: Ecology in Australia, Pergamon Press, Sydney. Upper secondary.
Reid, W. V., and Miller, K. R., 1989. Keeping Options Alive: The Scientific Basis for Conserving Biological Diversity, World Resources Institute, Washington DC.
Saunders, D. A., Hopkins, A. J. M., and How, R. A., (eds.) 1990. Australian Ecosystems: 200 Years of Utilisation, Degradation and Reconstruction, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Serventy, V., 1988. Saving Australia: a Blueprint for our Survival, Child and Associates. For middle primary to secondary.
Suzuki, D., 1989. Looking at the Environment, Allen and Unwin, London. Middle primary.
White, M. E., 1986. The Greening of Gondwana, Reed Books, Melbourne.
Wilderness Society, 1987, Wilderness: the Original and the Best of Planet Earth. The Wilderness Society, Hobart. Upper primary to secondary.
Wilson, E. O., (ed.), 1988. Biodiversity, National Academy Press, Washington DC.
World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 1992. Global Biodiversity Status of the Earth's Living Resources, Chapman and Hall, London.
World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in consultation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), 1992. Global Biodiversity Strategy: Guidelines for Actions; Save, Study, and Use Earth's Biotic Wealth Sustainably and Equitably,WRI., IUCN., UNEP., New York, NY.
Commonwealth Government Year Book Australia. Yearly edition.
Wildlife Australia, Bogong, Biodiversity, National Parks Journal (NSW), Search, Australian Natural History (Australian Museum), Chain Reaction (Friends of the Earth), Habitat (Aust. Conservation Foundation), Australian Journal of Biological Science, Australian Journal of Biotechnology, Ecos (CSIRO), Australian Zoology, Wetlands, Biological Conservation, Australian Journal of Ecology, Traffic Bulletin, New Scientist.
Biological diversity ; the variety of life on earth - the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems of which they form a part. It is considered at three levels:
Genetic diversity: the variation of genetic material within and between species and subspecies of animals and plants.
Species diversity: the variety of living organisms on earth.
Ecosystem diversity: the variety of habitats, natural communities and ecological processes on earth.
Biological control: the use of natural agents to control animal pests and weeds and other problems such as crop diseases.
Biosphere: the total of all the various ecosystems on earth: the spheres of air, water and land in which all life is found.
Biota: all of the living organisms in a specific region or area including animals, plants, and micro-organisms.
Catchment: a drainage basin which collects the rainwater that falls on it and directs the water to rivers and streams that carry it to a lake or the sea.
Community: a naturally occurring group of different organisms that live together and interact as a unit.
Conservation: the management of human use of the biosphere so it may yield the greatest sustainable benefits to present generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations.
Development: the modification of the biosphere and the application of human, financial and non-living resources to satisfy human needs.
Ecology: the study of the relationships between organisms in their ecosystems and with the physical components in those ecosystems.
Ecologically sustainable development: using, conserving and enhancing the community's resources so that the ecological processes and relationships, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased.
Ecosystem: a dynamic complex of plant and animal communities and their non-living environment.
Endangered: species in serious risk of disappearing from the wild state within one or two decades if present land use and other causal factors continue to operate.
Endemic: found only in a certain region.
Environment: the physical, chemical, biotic (living) and social conditions surrounding an organism.
Evolution: the continuous genetic adaptation of species to the environment.
Exotic: an introduced non-native species.
Extinct: a species not located in the wild for 50 years despite continued searching.
Fauna: the animal life of a region.
Flora: the plant life of a region.
Greenhouse effect: predicted increase in the earth's temperature caused by the trapping of heat from the sun in the atmosphere by concentrations of greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane).
Habitat: the part of an ecosystem that is inhabited by an organism or population of organisms.
Invertebrate: an animal without a backbone.
Marine: of the sea.
Marsupial: non-placental mammas - the female usually has a pouch with mammary glands for the developing young (e.g. kangaroo, possum).
Monotremes: egg-laying mammals (echidna, platypus).
Natural resource: any portion of the natural environment (e.g. air, water, forests, minerals, wildlife) that can be used in human activity.
Niches: a position or function in the habitat that provides all the living needs of a species.
Non-renewable resource: resources that once used, are lost, e.g. oil.
Nutrient: compounds necessary for life, (including some chemicals from agricultural run off, industrial discharge, sewerage).
Pollution: contamination of air, water or soil with some form of matter or energy to an undesirable level.
Rangelands: arid or semiarid grasslands used for extensive grazing.
Remnant vegetation: small remaining sections of the vegetation that once covered an area before development.
Rare (species): species that are uncommon but not currently considered endangered or vulnerable.
Refuge: an area where an organism is safe, usually where surrounding conditions have become inhospitable to it.
Species: a group of organisms genetically so similar that they can interbreed and produce fertile off-spring.
Tenure: holding or possessing.
Terrestrial: of the land.