Stephen T. Garnett - Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and Gabriel M. Crowley - Birds Australia
Environment Australia, 2000
ISBN 0 6425 4683 5
Australia is renowned for its unique biodiversity and its natural environment. Australia's birdlife, which includes 1,200 varieties, is part of this rich diversity.
Birds play a vital role in our environment by pollinating native plants, dispersing seeds and keeping insect populations in check. This natural pollination and biological pest control are among the many services that our ecosystems provide for us in the natural environment. Our fresh water, clean air and fertile soil are all the work of our natural environment and are integral to our well being and economic prosperity.
A report last year valued these global ecosystems at $33 trillion per annum – more than the global gross domestic product (GDP). In order to maintain this we need to act now to preserve the environment.
We have already taken significant steps to mobilise the community on the conservation and repair of the environment. The Commonwealth, through the $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust, has committed millions of dollars towards community and regional projects to protect our bird species, including the development of a national bird atlas. To date, more than 300,000 Australians have been involved in on-ground projects supported by the Trust.
The Endangered Species Program which is part of the Trust has improved the chances of the most sensitive and vulnerable of Australia’s bird species. Better tools now exist to help species and their habitats recover, such as recovery and threat abatement plans. New laws also provide continuing protection for nationally listed threatened species and ecological communities wherever they occur in Australia.
The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 is another resource for catchment boards, Landcare, conservation and other community groups, local government, schools and individual landholders to use for future conservation and revegetation projects in their area. In doing so, they will contribute to the national effort to ensure the survival of native birds and their habitat.
Senator the Hon. Robert Hill
Minister for Environment and Heritage