Can Australia's Remaining Biodiversity co-exist with its Urban/Agricultural Lifestyle?.
Australia is one of the world's most biologically diverse countries, with a high proportion of its species unique to this country. Biodiversity is a term used to describe the biological diversity or variety of life: the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems they form (EPA, 2003).
Heritage is considered those valuable features of our environment that we seek to conserve from the ravagers of development and decay (Davidson & McConville, 1991). Natural Heritage is considered as places such as national parks, biodiversity habitats, geological sites and museum collections, that have aesthetic, historic, scientific, or social significance for future and well as the present generations (Albrecht, 2003). .
Biodiversity has many benefits, including the maintenance of soil fertility and the improvement of agricultural product qualities and yields (Pearson, 2003). Biodiversity also enables the development of many medicines and industrial products. The natural areas that are set aside to maintain biodiversity, provide educational and recreational opportunities and community groups to better understand the intrinsic value of nature. It is crucial that areas outside these reserves are managed in ways that will allow native species to flourish (EPA, 2003).
Australia's native flora and fauna have been lost through the fragmentation and degradation of ecosystems through change in landuse, land clearance, grazing by livestock and feral animals and weed invasion and unnatural fire regimes.
Australia is a large country and contains a great variety of habitats and ecosystems, from coral reefs and tropical rainforests to temperate woodland, deserts, semi-arid rangelands and alpine grassland. It is, therefore, likely to have more species than many countries by virtue of size alone.