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Environmental Problems in Australia

Issue What is it? (description) What causes it? Problems arising because Management / control
of it (impacts) measures
Erosion Wind and water erosion are natural Land clearing, overgrazing of Once vegetation is removed To repair the damage steps
phenomena. When vegetation dies the farm and pest animals and or damaged due to must be taken, including;
topsoil becomes vulnerable to wind and salinity however, all contribute recreational users damaging rest and rotation grazing
land erosion, increasing the rate of to the acceleration of erosion valuable sand dunes, the periods of farmlands;
nutrients being blown away. across the landscape. sands literally blow away control of pest species;
and the dunes become increased farming of native
smaller and smaller. animals and reduced farming
of cows and sheep.
Salinity Salinity is one of the major threats to Salinity is caused by land Most plants are salt Accurate assessment of
the health and productivity of many clearing, cropping and irrigation sensitive and will die if the conditions for cropping,
catchments, as well as the rural and practices among other factors. salt levels escalate in their rotation planting of salt
urban communities that live in them. Although soil salinity began soon environment. Salty soil can tolerant plants and land
after European settlement, the only support salt tolerant restoration are costly but
Land Degradation

symptoms of this problem were plants or in serious cases no necessary processes that
not widely obvious until the vegetation at all. need to take place.
twentieth century.
Soil acidity Soil acidity is the increase of salt in the Soil acidity is caused by over All causes alter the acidity The damage can be rectified
soil. fertilizing crops, continuous of the soil and can render by the costly application of
legume cropping and wetland the land useless for lime to the soil, but it is also
drainage for agriculture. cropping or natural necessary to address this
vegetation cover. problem by adopting
prevention strategies.

Vegetation Victoria is losing around 2500 hectares Clearing land for human In some cases the total One percent of multiple use
loss of native vegetation every year. settlements, grazing, mining, removal of all natural forests are harvested each
logging and growing crops have vegetation and habitats for year and rotational
altered environments. animals, birds and insects. regeneration efforts
attempt to ensure that the
industry is sustainable.
Ideally plantation timber will
soon meet all demands for
timber and forest products.
Carbon Greenhouse gases include carbon When any matter containing They are increasing the Plants absorb carbon dioxide
emissions dioxide, methane and carbon is burned carbon dioxide amount of carbon in the and release oxygen during
chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). These is released into the atmosphere. atmosphere. the daylight hours. The
gases occur naturally in atmosphere, carbon that is removed from
however, the amount being emitted has the air is stored in the plant
drastically increased since the itself. Planting more trees
industrial revolution, and it continues to and protecting our existing
rise due to population growth and forests keeps carbon in the
demand for energy. earth rather than releasing
it into the atmosphere.
Methane Methane is produced when organic Rubbish tips, forest clearing and Decreasing methane Methane can be used as an
matter is burnt or decomposed. agriculture all contribute to the emissions involves reducing alternative to fossil fuels
Climate Change

rise in methane gas cattle grazing, and recycling for energy production.
concentrations in the waste to produce Energy companies are
atmosphere. electricity. expanding their forms of
energy production to include
solar, wind and recycling
waste although these
alternatives are more costly
to produce.
Chlorofluoroc CFC’s were used as a propellant in CFC’s in the atmosphere are also The hole in the ozone layer This means the economic
arbons aerosol sprays, but this is no longer the associated with the increasing allows extra ultraviolet viability of many tourist and
(CFC’s) case. hole in the ozone layer. The hole radiation to penetrate the farm practices will be
in the ozone layer allows extra atmosphere causing an affected if the production
ultraviolet radiation to increase in skin cancers and of CFC’s continues.
penetrate the atmosphere eye disease in animals,
causing an increase in skin including humans.
cancers and eye disease in
animals, including humans.
Pest control A pest is an animal or plant that Farmers are often in conflict They can cause problems It is the legal responsibility
interferes with human land-use. with weeds and animals that through interrupting of each individual land owner
interfere with their crops and farming practices in both to control weeds on their
stock. Many pest species such as fauna and flora. property. Large fines are
rabbit, foxes, feral cats and can imposed on people who do
Introduced Species

toads have been introduced by not properly manage their
humans. land.

Marine pests Pests in the oceans and seas that Victoria’s marine environment is The Northern Pacific Sea Attempts to control these
interfere with human water use. under serious threat from Star is a major threat to pests include clean up days
introduced species. The use of scallops and has wreaked and hand weeding by scuba
ballast is bringing unwanted havoc in Tasmanian diving groups.
hitchhiking species back to fisheries.
Victorian waters with very few
or no predators.

Loss of River Rivers and streams have been diverted Irrigation and town water supply The drying up of waterways Some of the efforts to
flow and dammed or, in some cases both, systems as well as drought have is severely affecting protect waterways include;
causing a range of problems from drastically altered river flows ecosystems if not seeking alternative ‘clean
waterways drying up, to complete within Victoria. completely destroying them. and green’ energy sources
inundation. such as wind and solar
power; reducing water loss

through evaporation by
piping irrigation channels;
increasing community water
conservation awareness and
developing water saving
technologies and water
conservation strategies.
Urbanisation What is it? History: History:
Early Today: Push towards conservation
 Urbanisation relates to the
 Housing estates and populations to Australia boomed around  Today, many Australian cities (in particular
development of towns and 1880’s. Adelaide) try to have parklands, green belts
cities, including residential  This impact or rapid development and sprawling suburbs almost and nature reserves due to the effort of
areas. extinguished all signs of natural environments near water some early developers to reserve natural
catchments and fertile land areas.
 Approx 2% of land in Aus. is
Cities  Today governments are trying to fix the
urbanised however the impacts  Throughout the 19th century there was little in the way of problems caused by early developers
since European settlement has thought towards development- cities simply adopted European  Many built up areas have become hard
been substantial. ways of outlining city's into grids with outer suburbs attaching concrete or sealed areas.
themselves along railways.  This results in greater run-off,
 Within Victoria: Approx 70%
 Sewage and clean water ways was a major problem with their larger/higher volumes of water in our`
live in Melbourne or 80% live in being heavily polluted streams from industrial and household streams which can have short term
melbs and larger regional cities waste. (flooding) and long term effects (changing
combined (e.g. Ballarat, Bendigo  E.g. Melbourne with the Yarra and Port Phillip Bay being a gutter the course of waterways.)
for waste.  Development planning of houses in low-lying
and Geelong)
 Little thought was given to the environment and the possible areas or places too close to coastal waters
 Although Australia is often effects this could have. have also caused some concerns.
depicted as a rural and remote Regional  The increased urbanisation has bought
country we actually are a highly  Obvious impacts of urbanisation was seen in many regional several feral competitors to our native
city's- Bendigo and Ballarat due to the expansion caused by the animals.-cats, dogs
urbanised country, loving our
Gold rush in the 1850’s  However, some native animals such as the
cities.  There was massive land clearing and excavation causing huge brush tailed possum have adapted,
habitat losses. flourishing in urban development often
 Wood was also needed for housing, mining and fuel causing scavenging household wastes and living in
massive follow on effects of erosion especially in water ways. roof cavities.
 The clearing of old hollow trees, dead wood, removal of topsoils  Many grassland areas are targeted for
and the introduction of weeds all had a major impact on the land. housing developments due to the obvious low
costs (no need to clear the land)