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1384.6 - Statistics - Tasmania, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2002   
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Contents >> Environment >> Biodiversity

Biodiversity (or biological diversity) is the variety of life forms on earth - the different plants, animals and microorganisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems of which they form a part. It is not static but constantly changing - increased by genetic change and evolution and reduced by processes such as habitat degradation and extinction.

Biodiversity is usually considered at three levels:

  • species diversity is the variety of species on earth (plants, animals, bacteria etc.)
  • ecosystem diversity is the variety of habitats, biotic communities and ecological processes
  • genetic diversity is the variety of genetic information within and between populations of species. It is the basis of continuing evolution, and of the adaptability and survival of species.

Tasmania, including all its islands, supports a wide variety of plants and animals including approximately:
  • 1,900 native plant species
  • 37 native mammals
  • 159 resident terrestrial species of birds
  • 21 land reptiles
  • 11 amphibians
  • 44 freshwater fish.

(Source: Nature Conservation Branch, Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment.)

Tasmania's isolation from mainland Australia has supported biodiversity by protecting native species from most of the introduced animal species that have affected the flora and fauna of mainland Australia. However, Tasmania is currently threatened by the potential establishment of the fox.

More information on fox sightings in Tasmania and the potential impact on native animals and birds can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment web site at http://www.dpiwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/SJON-52J8U3?open

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