This small patch of trees in tempe Reserve is called the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest by Marrickville Council.   It is classified as an Critically Endangered Ecological Community.

This small patch of trees in tempe Reserve is called the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest by Marrickville Council. It is classified as an Critically Endangered Ecological Community.  The white spots are Ibis

The 7th September is Threatened Species Day in Australia.  This event was initiated to commemorate & honour the death in 1936 of the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger who lived at Hobart Zoo.

The awful thing about flora & fauna listed as ‘threatened’ is that there are so many of them & that once gone, they are gone forever.  It also leaves a hole in Australia’s complex biodiversity, as well as in the hearts of those people who have worked hard to stop them from becoming extinct.

Threatened Species Day is also part of Biodiversity Month, which aims to educate the community about the benefits & rich rewards that come from increasing biodiversity.  More wildlife means a more interesting & I think, healthier environment for people to live in.

Biodiversity is about a space for all living things in which to live.  We humans are a part of an interdependent web of life, but often this is not recognized or acknowledged, especially if the opportunity for financial profit is involved.   Over the last 200-years, our governments have agreed to development & farming practices, both on land & in the oceans, that have had a massive negative impact on Australia’s biodiversity. These practices continue with the logging of old growth forests & mining in our National Parks & despite knowing full well that Australian icons like the Koala may be pushed to extinction due to loss of habitat.

Even our oceans are seen as an area to exploit with the Super Trawler being a recent example.  In 2006 these ships overfished & subsequently collapsed the South Pacific fishery leaving only 10% of healthy fish behind.  The Super Trawlers also wiped out West Africa’s commercial fish stocks.  Their bycatch – what they don’t want – has killed massive numbers of sharks, rays & turtles.  See –

Right now the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef is in deep trouble with plans to dredge three channels for new ports at Balaclava Reef near Gladstone, at Townsville & at Princess Charlotte Bay on Cape York to allow massive ships to collect coal & liquified natural gas to ship to Asia.   The world’s largest liquified natural gas terminal is being constructed in Queensland’s Gladstone Harbour, complete with a second shipping channel.  The impact on fish, dolphins, crabs, frogs, dugongs & turtles in Gladstone Harbour is well documented.  In February 2013 there were more than 20,000 commercial shipping movements a month & the project was only 51% completed.  There are great fears for the Reef, including from the International World Heritage Committee.  See –

It is thought that there are around 700,000 species in Australia.  Of these 83% of our mammals, 45% of our birds & 84% of our plants are only found in Australia, making them very special.   Sadly, more than 100 animals & plant species have been declared extinct over the last 200-years & today more than 950 animal & plant species are at risk of extinction.

Trees are extremely important for biodiversity.   “Individual trees may provide an important resource to threatened animals, which are part of the ecological community. For example, large older trees may support a diverse & abundant array of insects & the animals that feed on them. They often have numerous hollows, cracks or fissures that provide shelter & nesting sites.  Or they might act as ‘stepping-stones’ for fauna moving between larger, more complex remnants across an otherwise cleared landscape.  Standing dead trees also provide critical shelter for fauna.  In many landscapes, these important habitat resources are now more common in the form of isolated trees rather than in patches of vegetation.” See –

Closer to home in Marrickville LGA, the following flora & fauna are officially listed –

  • Long-nosed bandicoots – classified as endangered. They are mostly seen in & around the Greenway, which is just one of the reasons why this area is so important to preserve.
  • Eastern Bentwong bat – classified as vulnerable.  Sydney has about 20 species of microbats, about half of which are threatened.
  • Grey-headed flying fox – classified as vulnerable.
  • Powerful Owls – classified as vulnerable.  Seven of the nine species of Australian Owls live in NSW & a whopping five of these are listed as ‘vulnerable.’  They are the Powerful Owl, Barking Owl, Sooty Owl Masked Owl & Grass Owl.   Owls like to nest in tree hollows & we all know how few trees have these in our area.
  • The Green & Gold Bell Frog – classified as endangered, though these have not been recently found in Marrickville LGA.
  • Swift Parrot – classified as endangered.
  • Regent Honey eater  – classified as critically endangered.
  • Turpentine-Ironbark Forest – classified as an Critically Endangered Ecological Community.  Sydney’s inner west used to be a Turpentine-Ironbark forest.  Today, less than 0.5% of the Turpentine-Ironbark Forests remain.
  • Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest  – classified as an Endangered Ecological Community.
  • Coastal Saltmarshes  – classified as an Endangered Ecological Community.

To their credit Marrickville Council has established about 10-hectares of native vegetation from the Tempe Wetlands & along the Alexandra Canal & following the parks along the Cooks River.  Volunteer groups like the Mudcrabs (contact details in the Blogroll) work hard establishing new areas of vegetation & looking after old ones, including one site of remnant vegetation in Marrickville Golf Course.

If you could do only one thing to help wildlife & improve biodiversity I think it would be to plant a native plant or tree, preferably indigenous to this area.  Imagine if all 89,000 residents did this, we could fill this 16-square-kilometers with food producing plants & trees that would help our wildlife in a big way.  We would reap the benefits of a greener environment that had more birds, bees, butterflies etc & likely feel good about our action too.

One is never enough, so I’d also say – keep your cat/s inside at night as hunting cats kill an enormous amount of wildlife & it’s not cute.

There are other things we can do, which I will write about in a later post.

Saltwater wetland at Tempe Reserve - as far as I understand, these are also classified as an Endangered Ecological Community.

Saltwater wetland at Tempe Reserve.  As far as I understand, these are also classified as an Endangered Ecological Community.  The marks are where people have taken to driving through the area. presumably to test their vehicle.

An Egret & three Cormorants resting on Fatima Island in the Cooks River at Tempe

An Egret & three Cormorants resting on Fatima Island in the Cooks River at Tempe

Red-rumped parrots - just one of a quite large selection of bird species that relies on the lawn grass atTempe Reserve.

Red-rumped parrots.  I have been surprised at just how many bird species rely on the lawn grass at Tempe Reserve for their food supply.