Monday, May 7, 2012

Ecologist warns of Australian 'extinction crisis'

A Queensland ecologist is calling for a rethink of Australia's conservation strategy to combat an "extinction crisis".

Professor Hugh Possingham, an ecologist from the University of Queensland and the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, says selling some of the country's national parks is one option.

Australia has thousands of national parks and reserves, from the wilderness of the rainforests and deserts to the popular and busy beaches and rivers. Many are protecting vulnerable animals, birds and reptiles.

The parks are designed to encourage conservation but Professor Possingham says funds from the parks could be better spent on more urgent ecological projects.

"We are losing species very, very fast and we can't invest in every national park equally well," he said.

"There are some national parks that deliver a bigger return, that are going to deliver more conservation outcomes per dollar than others.

"Maybe some of those other national parks need to be managed in a much more cost effective fashion, and maybe they'd be better off managed by people other than governments."

He says it is clear that Australia's ecological protection strategy is not working anywhere near as well as it should. Read More