Geography, landscapes and environment Australia
A few figures: l & rsquoUnis without l & rsquoMoscou, and 3 km from north to south. The population is mainly concentrated on the coasts, in the east of the country.
The country is bordered by the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the biggest island in the world, but also the smallest continent. Speaking of an island, the country has no less than 8, of which ten are over 222 km². As for national parks, there are around 1, a world record!
The country formed without a major tectonic event. Little volcanic activity, large plate slides or glacial activity gave a uniform soil, without much variety. It is also the only continent not to have active volcanoes. An essential element to understand Australian geography: only the climates are responsible for the environmental variations of the country.
80% of the territory is made up of arid deserts, with less than 600 mm of rain per year, and 64% of the country has no outflow to the sea. Antarctica aside, it is the driest country on the planet. It has 10 deserts, including the impressive Great Victoria Desert, covering 5% of the country, almost the size of Germany. Only the coastline (37 km of seacoasts all the same!) Is spared by drought, and is home to a wide variety of landscapes and wildlife.
It is therefore not surprising that the majority of large cities are concentrated there: 85% of the Australian population lives within 50 km of the coast.
Conversely, parts of the far north of Queensland sometimes exceed 12 m of annual precipitation.
Located in Australia, the state of Victoria has Melbourne, the most European city in the country, which alone concentrates 75% of the inhabitants of Victoria! It is the smallest state in the country, yet with a great variety of landscapes : from the mountains of the Australian Cordillera in the north, to the misty coasts of the Great Ocean Road, where you can admire the astonishing formation of the Twelve Apostles.
New South Wales
The first and oldest East in the country, bordered South to the west and Victoria to the south, it surrounds the Canberra Territory, and is bordered by the Tasman Sea.
La Australian Cordillera (Great Dividing Range) crosses the state from north to south. The highest points of this mountain range are the Snowy Mountains, and Mount Kosciuszko (2 m). Surprisingly, the Australian “Alps” actually receive more snow per year than the Swiss Alps! Skiing is there in winter.
Vast, Queensland is the second state of the country with an area of 2 km², the size of France and Germany combined! It is crossed by the Australian Cordillera, from north to south. It is off the coast that we find the Great Barrier Reef : largest coral site in the world and largest structure made up of living organisms although in danger. It is the main tourist attraction in the region.
Along the coasts,countless and beautiful islands surrounded by the aptly named Coral Sea ... But limiting Queensland to these postcard landscapes would be reductive, because it is also a region with a tropical climate that is home to important national parks and unspoiled virgin spaces, covered with tropical vegetation .
Part of the territory, the Wet Tropics, has been listed as a Unesco Heritage Site since 1988, like Daintree National Park, located in the far north of the state, whose forest dates back to over 110 million. years. Finally, inland, especially in the Atherton Tablelands between Mission Beach and Cairns, you can walk among banana plantations, sugar cane fields and tea and coffee plantations.
As everywhere in Australia, the population has concentrated mainly on the coasts. It is the third most populous state in the country, with almost 3 million inhabitants, but it is also the one with the fastest growing population, with a new inhabitant every 5 minutes! Most live in Brisbane, but the demographics are much better distributed there than elsewhere, populating the coastline as far as Cairns.
This is what the southern part of the Northern Territory is called. These arides make up almost the entire landscape of the Red Center. The few rivers only fill up during episodes of heavy rains.
Over 24 varieties of plants are counted in Australia, 91% of which are native to the country!
THEeucalyptus remains the most emblematic. It represents 65% of the trees in Australia. Its adaptability is impressive and we find it all over the country, despite the extreme conditions. In large fires, it also pulls out of the “fire”, because its seed is protected by a shell that opens after the fire. The ashy and rich soil is particularly suitable for this plant, which is all the more fertile.
- acacias are also very present in Australia. Of the 1 known species, 500 are endemic.
Australia is a country made of contradictions, proud of its land, its landscapes, the richness of its fauna and its seabed. However, the territory faces multiple environmental threats, attributable to human activity.
Australia is arguably one of the developed countries most affected by the greenhouse gas phenomenon. Its visible effects increased with the onset of El Niño: Fire in Victoria, drought, spectacular rising waters in Queensland, skin cancer affecting nearly half of the elderly population, cyclones, typhoons, threatened biodiversity, increased risk of diseases like dengue or malaria, and the list goes on and on.
700 homes could be affected by a sharp rise in water levels, with damage estimated at 000 billion dollars.
The Great Barrier could disappear
The Great Barrier Reef, a major icon of the country listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has already lost half of its components in the space of 30 years.
In 2016 alone, 30% of its corals died due to a 9-month heat wave, which was repeated the following year, bringing the number of bleaching episodes to 4 Barrier since 1998. An Australian study affirms that 95% of the reefs studied show signs of bleaching and that if we do not protect the billion surviving corals, the Great Barrier can disappear altogether.
In question: the global warming and water, but also the coal industry et water acidification.
Ecology versus economy
- greenhouse gas are of course the first culprits of this dramatic situation, but politicians are dragging their feet to change the situation. Australia only rejects 1,3% of these gases globally, but the per capita emission rate makes it one of the worst polluters on the planet. The mad rush to urbanize the country is not helping.
Looting of natural resources
This reluctance of the political power is explained in particular by the massive contribution that coal represents in the Australian economy. With the 944 million tonnes extracted, each year we could fill a train the length of which would circle the planet 4 times, for 155 years!
Coal is the country's main source of energy - the world's 4th largest exporter - supplying 70% of power plants. Natural gas, which is less polluting, but just as fossil and non-renewable, fuels 20% of it: 90% of the electricity produced therefore comes from fossil fuels! And the country is greedy: despite a population three times smaller, Australia has electrical needs more important than France.
Alpha Coal, a giant mine project
Today, sol has a name, and a scandal that (hey, hey!). Gigantic open pit mine, exporting mainly to Asia. To dig, you have to clear the land. About 64 ha of forest and grassland, home to Queensland's exceptional - and often threatened - wildlife would go up in smoke. D
since the beginnings of colonization, 50% of the dense forests have thus disappeared. The mine would draw on the country's scarce freshwater resources.
But above all, once the coal is extracted, it would be sent by sea right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef! It would then become the largest coal port in the world.
Yet Australia could benefit from scientific and technological advances emerged in the renewable energy sector. Voices are starting to rise, both among environmentalists and in the scientific community, and even among economists.
The size of the country and its strong sunshine can give pride of place to the fields of solar panels or emarines.
The question of water
Australia is the driest country on the planet, with the exception of Antarctica: 94% of precipitation evaporates, leaving only a tiny part to nourish the soil. Fresh water is therefore a major stake for the country.
The main Darling, which encompasses Victoria and New South Wales: it is here that 42% of arable land is located. A situation which is not natural: the hydrographic network of the region is due to the intervention of man, with great reinforcements of dams and diverted courses.
But this exploitation has a duresols, the "salinization". Rivers become loaded with various salts, making the land sterile. The purification process is long and expensive.
In addition to this problem, theagriculture represents 60% of the country's water needs: during periods of drought, the sector enters into serious episodes of economic crisis. The most pessimistic believe that agriculture, which represents only 4% of the country's GDP, will gradually disappear from these regions.
Protection of endemic species
A huge part of Australia's flora and fauna is endemic, which means that it is unique to the continent. This fabulous bestiary is in danger. Almost 10% of mammal species have disappeared since the arrival of the settlers.
Several factors come into play: pollution, rebuffles to fight against fleas ...