Aussie northern savanna 'largest, most intact on Earth

Aug 14, 2007

A new book on Northern Australia by four of the country’s leading scientists reveals the region has the largest and least damaged tropical savanna in the world, and calls for a new approach to development and conservation to ensure it remains one of the last great natural places.

The Nature of Northern Australiais the result of almost three years of exhaustive research. Authors Dr John Woinarski, Professor Brendan Mackey, Professor Henry Nix and Dr Barry Traill detail ‘how the country works’, and provide a roadmap for planning future economic growth and conservation of the North’s irreplaceable ecological systems.

The study used latest satellite imagery to identify that the more than 1.5 million square kilometre area of Northern Australia – stretching from Cape York Peninsula and Gulf Country in Far North Queensland, across the Northern Territory Top End to the Kimberley in North West Western Australia – is one of the last remaining great natural areas on Earth alongside the Amazon rainforests and polar wilderness of Antarctica.

“Only an hour west of Cairns a great ‘sea’ of savanna stretches across the top of Australia west to the Indian Ocean. In other parts of the world, tropical savanna is in decline due to land clearing, unsustainable grazing regimes and over population, but this vast area of Northern Australia is remarkably intact,” co-author Professor Brendan Mackey from The Australian National University said.

The North is a place where natural ecological processes continue to function well, maintaining a healthy landscape, Professor Mackey said. “This healthy landscape is necessary to sustain people and industries in Northern Australia. Elsewhere in the tropics and the rest of Australia, we have impaired the health and functioning of our lands and waters.”

The Nature of Northern Australia calls for investments in the management of the North; using the emerging carbon economy associated with extensive natural vegetation to provide investment and employment; and recognising management skills of all land managers, including Indigenous Australians.

Source: ASU

Explore further: Greener industry if environmental authorities change strategy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wild relatives vital to crop improvement

Mar 18, 2015

Wild relatives of the nutritious pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) legume should be more actively collected and conserved as a genetic resource for improving crop yields, research suggests.

Call to better manage Australia's hidden water

Mar 09, 2015

Two of Australia's leading water scientists have called on the Federal Government not to overlook the nation's greatest natural resource – our vast reserves of underground fresh water – in developing a new national water ...

Recommended for you

Climate fund signs up first partners

10 hours ago

The global fund created to spearhead climate change financing has selected its first partners to channel funds to developing countries, but says it needs donor nations to move fast in transforming cash pledges ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.