In the 1980’s Kakadu became a mainstream and popular tourist destination. Australians began flocking to these mysterious and sublime wetland areas of unsurpassable beauty, and the region became absorbed into our national psyche as a true Australian jewel.
The region 171 km southeast of Darwin, is located in the Alligator Rivers area of the Northern Territory and covers nearly 20,000 sq kilometres of land – equivalent to a third of the size of Tasmania and approximately half the total area of Switzerland.
It has been continuously occupied for 40 000 years and is extremely famed for its rich indigenous cultural sites as well as its abundant and rich flora and fauna. There are approximately 1700 plant species, over 60 mammal species and a host of other wildlife and rare species.
Effects of Climate Change
In June 2011, The Australian Government released “Kakadu: Vulnerability to climate change impacts” which considers the potential effects of climate change on this incredibly rich and precious region. The study concentrated on the methods and impacts on the catchments and floodplains, paying particular attention to the possible risks associated with saltwater intrusions and also extreme rainfall events on the coastal wetland regions.
Rises in sea levels and therefore salinity will lead to a recession of freshwater plant species and their dependent fauna and birdlife. This will have a severely deleterious effect on the biodiversity of the region and will lead to significant shifts in the food chain and also the region’s reliance on tourism as a major socio-economic force of the region.
The cultural effect of climate change on the indigenous population has also been considered, involving discussions with major indigenous stakeholders and the Binninj people of the area. These were outlined as impacts on:
- Getting income from country
- Living on country
- Looking after the country
- Looking after special places and sacred sites
- The availability of bush tucker.
If little is done to combat climate change, the 2070 forecasts for risk to the region rate as “high to extreme for many areas entailing cultural values, ecology, socio-economic values, tourism and planning and regulation.”
However, the paper also concluded that adaptation options to climate change are available and possible and that some of the high to extreme risks to the region can be reduced, so that the Kakadu can continue on in spite of the forecast temperature rises that are expected over the next 100 or so years.
Envirosafe Solutions supports the protection and respect of the Kakadu region and its abundant and diverse flora and fauna. As one of the true natural jewels of our country, it requires every support and protection available to it by way of government funding, adaptation strategies and research that can lead to a greater understanding of its specific needs and requirements as the planet begins to heat.
For more information on Envirosafe Solutions Extreme Green range of eco-friendly products, please telephone 1300 889070.