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Of Perth and Poznan

Apologies for a couple of weeks of silence from your Ice Blogger. Amongst other things, I’ve been finding out about the effects of climate change in areas known for their warmth and sunshine, rather than ice and snow.
You might expect the blogger to be at Poznan. But, believe me, there are plenty of other journalists there to keep the world up to date on the hours… and hours… and hours… of negotiations – and the problems of reaching an international concensus.
During a trip to Australia, I found myself in one of the world’s 34 “biodiversity hotspots” – South-West Australia. WWF, Conservation International and other groups have come up with a list of the places on earth worthy of special protection, because they have the highest concentrations of biodiversity. SW Australia is one of them.
In its capital, Perth, I paid a visit to “Panda Cottage” on Herdsman Lake.

It’s the headquarters of WWF for SW Australia. It’s a beautiful setting, with herons, spoonbills and a wide variety of birds amongst
paperbarks and other trees, reflecting on the water in bright sunshine. There is also a large population of tiger snakes. “Watch out, there’s one living just outside the door”, says Paul Gamblin, WWF Programme chief for WA.

There is an amazing variety of wildlife and plant life, for an area on the outskirts of a sprawling city.But I found out from Paul that this little idyll is subject to tremendous pressure – typical of the whole of this region of Australia. The water is actually quite badly polluted. The whole area of SW Australia has suffered from clearance for agriculture and settlment . In fact a dramatic 93% has already been lost. Now, climate change poses the next challenge. Nobody knows exactly which scenario will actually become reality. But rainfall patterns have already been changing. And wetland areas like this one are under pressure.
You can hear the interview with Paul Gamblin on the Living Planet website:
Climate Change and SW Australia on Living Planet
More info also at:
WWF Australia


December 3, 2008 | 2:42 pm



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