AUSTRALIA (0.1% rainforest cover)
Australia has two small areas of rainforest on the Cape York Peninsula in the extreme northeast of Australia and along the coastal plains and mountain ranges north of Townsville. This small (about 4000 square miles-10,300 sq. km) unprotected rainforest is very diverse: over 95 plant families, 1000 plant species, and 70 families of trees are contained in the 50,000 acre (20,000 hectare) forest. The forest provides a habitat for 30% of the marsupials of Australia, 30% of the frogs, 23% of the reptiles, 62% of the butterflies, and 18% of the birds. However this area is highly threatened by a subdivision development, a proposed electrical power grid which would lead the way to massive development, pastures for livestock, and exploitation for mining. The Cow Bay subdivision consists of 750 blocks which make up 60% of the lowland area and about 33% of the remaining forest. The development of the Daintree, as this region is known, has erupted into a controversy between political groups, residents, and outsiders. Pro-environment factions, along with the Queensland government are planning to spend almost $30 million to purchase 775,000 hectares of the eastern coast of the peninsula. The federal government contributed $11.5 million to buy back some 300 blocks of subdivision, although has only succeeded in obtaining 5% of its goal. Anti-environment groups include landowners of the subdivision who do not want to sell their land. Others want to develop the Daintree region for tourism. The anti-environmentalists have taken to killing wildlife and destroying forest on their property to show their feelings on the issue. At this writing, it is unclear which side will prevail.
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For current information I highly recommend trying the CIA and FAO links below.
Top 10 HAPPY environmental stories of 2014
(12/29/2014) In what was widely seen as a possible breakthrough in the battle to coordinate some kind of response to global warming, China and the U.S. announced joint actions this year. On November 12th, the world's two most powerful countries surprised pretty much everyone by announcing that they would work together to tackle the crisis.
Endangered environmentalists: investigating government crackdowns on green groups
(11/19/2014) Mongabay.org offers journalists opportunity to report on government muzzling of environmental activists. As climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction worsen across the globe, environmental groups are responding by ratcheting up the pressure on governments and corporations to act. Many governments have responded by increasing restrictions on environmental NGOs, including revoking charity status, increasing sentences for protestors, and passing legislation restricting NGO activity.
Green Climate Fund nears $7 billion after U.S. pledges $3 billion
(11/17/2014) The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is suddenly looking very lively after two announcements over the weekend. The U.S. has announced an initial pledge of $3 billion to the fund, while Japan pledged $1.5 billion. This more than doubles the current amount pledged to the key fund, which is now around $6.94 billion from thirteen countries. The new pledges also bring the fund much closer to an initial goal of $10-15 billion.
Australia's small rainforest conservation steps overshadowed by broader assault on environment (commentary)
(11/13/2014) On the eve of the World Parks Congress in Sydney, the Australian government has just hosted the 'Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit', a two-day event that brought together political leaders, academics, environmental managers and NGO staff in an effort to devise strategies to conserve endangered forests in the Asia-Pacific region. Here, Bill Laurance, a leading rainforest researcher, takes a critical look at the event.
Australia cancels plan to dump dredge in Great Barrier Reef
(09/02/2014) A consortium of companies—North Queensland Bulk Ports, GVK Hancock and Adani Group—have announced they are giving up on a hugely-controversial plan to dump five million tonnes of dredged sediment in the Great Barrier Reef. The plans ran into considerable opposition from environment, conservation, and tourism groups who feared harm to the world's largest coral reef system.
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