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Australia, after a year of fires, 49 species have lost 80% of their habitat

Australia, after a year of fires, 49 species have lost 80% of their habitat

Rome – about year after season Fires Unprecedented that from June 2019 to February 2020 hitAustraliaAnd the The balance is sexy. But from the ashes of this devastating emergency the WWF has launched the largest and most innovative nature regeneration program in Australian history. More than 15,000 fires – burning mainly forests and woods but also land used for pastures and meadows – have affected a total area of ​​at least 19 million hectares (Velkov et al. 2020) in different states and released 900 million tons of carbon dioxide. The most devastating impacts on human life and biodiversity have been recorded in eastern Australia, with approximately 12.6 million hectares of forest burned, including 54% of Australia’s rainforest Gondwana (Queensland and New South Wales), 81% of the Blue Mountains region The Grand (NSW) and 99% of the Old Great North Road: Three World Heritage Sites that house habitats and fauna unique to the world. According to a first study by the Australian government, Ben 191 threatened species have seen their habitats decline dramatically. Of these, 49 lost more than 80%, 65 more than 50% and 77 more than 30%.

As of January 2020, Professor Chris Dickman has estimated this It is possible that more than a billion vertebrates have died from the firesBut a recent report from the World Wildlife Fund in Australia updated this estimate to approximately 3 billionTaking into account the latest data on the densities of different populations of mammals (143 million), reptiles (2.46 billion), birds (181 million) and amphibians (51 million), and taking into account the animals indirectly affected by the secondary effects of fires. Animals that survive the influence of smoke and flames run the risk of not surviving because of one Reduced availability of food resources and areas of refuge, Leading to increased intra- and inter-species competition and an increased risk of predation by species such as the domestic cat (Felis catus) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), exotic species introduced by humans. These are medium to long-term threats, which can increase the rate of species extinction, which unfortunately is already high, as well as threaten additional species and ecosystems that were not previously considered threatened. Only among mammals It is estimated that 40 million possums and gliders live in areas devastated by firesMore than 36 million anteaters, marsupial mice and other insects, 5.5 million kangaroos, bandicoot, kuoka and botoro, 5 million kangaroos and wallabies, 1.1 million animals, 114,000 echidna and about 60,000 koalas.

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2019 was the hottest and driest year on record in Australia, and continuing forecasts of climate change point to this Fires will intensify and spreadDry seasons will extend (Lewis et al., 2019). Now more than ever, the mitigation of these disasters in the coming years should be seen as a priority to preserve biodiversity: that’s why the government decided to employ $ 200 million to restore native wildlife and the most affected habitats.
While the amount is important, it is not enough to concrete the prevention and recovery program that Australia needs.

Australia Renewable Initiative

That is why WWF launched the “Rebirth Australia” initiative $ 300 million five-year program, To support habitat restoration and wildlife restoration measures, and to promote a sustainable economy – based on renewable energy sources rather than coal – with the goal of making Australia a “future-proof” country. It is Australia’s largest and most ambitious “regeneration” program, looking at all causes of biodiversity loss: from fires to climate change. Our goal is not just to save the unique fauna in their habitat from extinction, to restore the habitat of koalas, but to push Australia to become a true champion in the fight against climate change that is fueling fires across the planet, I risk the future of humanity and other species.

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