Deforestation in Eastern Australia | WWF
© Global Warming Images / WWF

Eastern Australia

Australia is the only place on Earth where all three major divisions of mammals are present: the egg-laying monotremes (platypus and echidna); the marsupials; and the placental mammals. At least 130,000 species of native animals and plants, nearly 8% of all life on Earth, are found in Australia.

The forests and woodlands of eastern Australia comprise the six WWF terrestrial ecoregions within the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland: Queensland tropical rain forests, Eastern Australia temperate forests, Brigalow tropical savannah, Eastern Australia mulga shrublands, Southeast Australia temperate forests and Southeast Australia temperate savannahs.

At least 10% of native Australian terrestrial species are endemic to this region, and 24% have the majority of known records in this region.

One of the symbols of Australia, the koala, although not confined to this front, was recently listed vulnerable to extinction due to deforestation in Queensland and NSW and consequent fragmentation.

Two of the ecoregions, Queensland tropical rain forests and Eastern Australian temperate forests, comprise the Forests of Eastern Australia global biodiversity hotspot. About 70 per cent of this hotspot is cleared or disturbed and only 18% protected.

Deforestation in the northern ecoregions is a substantial contributor of sediment pollution affecting the Great Barrier Reef. Soil surface rainfall runoff is shown to increase between 40% and 100% due to deforestation in this area. Beyond the short-term effect of deforestation on soil erosion is the long-term effect of enabling land uses, principally livestock and cropping, which continuously deliver sediment, nutrient and agri-chemical pollution to the Reef.

Source: WWF Living Forests Report

Koala mother with joey (young) feeds on eucalyptus leaves. Australia.

© Martin Harvey / WWF