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Act early, act local to save threatened landscapes22 February 2012
Australians have been urged to "act early, act local" to save large tracts of the Australian landscape from shifting into radically-altered states.
A team of 26 leading ecologists from the Innovative Research Universities (IRUs) today released a list of the continent's ten most highly-threatened environments.
They warn that these environments are all at risk of reaching 'tipping points' where they may change rapidly and irreversibly into alien landscapes, often dominated by introduced or unfamiliar species.
"In ecological terms, a tipping point is a threshold beyond which major change becomes inevitable. It often happens quite fast, such as when a rainforest is destroyed by fire, damaged coral reefs become infested by seaweeds, or invading weeds take over large expanses of savanna," says Professor Bill Laurance, Australian Laureate and Distinguished Professor of Conservation Biology at James Cook University.
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