International Union for Conservation of Nature
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, field projects and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable". Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to sustainable development in its projects. Unlike many other international environmental organisations, IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation, it tries to influence the actions of governments and other stakeholders by providing information and advice, through building partnerships. The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.
IUCN has a membership of over 1400 non-governmental organizations. Some 16,000 scientists and experts participate in the work of IUCN commissions on a voluntary basis, it employs 1000 full-time staff in more than 50 countries. Its headquarters are in Switzerland. IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations, plays a role in the implementation of several international conventions on nature conservation and biodiversity, it was involved in establishing the World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. In the past, IUCN has been criticized for placing the interests of nature over those of indigenous peoples. In recent years, its closer relations with the business sector have caused controversy. IUCN was established in 1948, it was called the International Union for the Protection of Nature and the World Conservation Union. Establishment IUCN was established on 5 October 1948, in Fontainebleau, when representatives of governments and conservation organizations signed a formal act constituting the International Union for the Protection of Nature.
The initiative to set up the new organisation came from UNESCO and from its first Director General, the British biologist Julian Huxley. The objectives of the new Union were to encourage international cooperation in the protection of nature, to promote national and international action and to compile and distribute information. At the time of its founding IUPN was the only international organisation focusing on the entire spectrum of nature conservation Early years: 1948–1956 IUPN started out with 65 members, its secretariat was located in Brussels. Its first work program focused on saving species and habitats and applying knowledge, advancing education, promoting international agreements and promoting conservation. Providing a solid scientific base for conservation action was the heart of all activities. IUPN and UNESCO were associated, they jointly organized the 1949 Conference on Protection of Nature. In preparation for this conference a list of gravely endangered species was drawn up for the first time, a precursor of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
In the early years of its existence IUCN depended entirely on UNESCO funding and was forced to temporarily scale down activities when this ended unexpectedly in 1954. IUPN was successful in engaging prominent scientists and identifying important issues such as the harmful effects of pesticides on wildlife but not many of the ideas it developed were turned into action; this was caused by unwillingness to act on the part of governments, uncertainty about the IUPN mandate and lack of resources. In 1956, IUPN changed its name to International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Increased profile and recognition: 1956–1965 In the 1950s and 1960s Europe entered a period of economic growth and formal colonies became independent. Both developments had impact on the work of IUCN. Through the voluntary involvement of experts in its Commissions IUCN was able to get a lot of work done while still operating on a low budget, it established links with the Council of Europe. In 1961, at the request of United Nations Economic and Social Council, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, IUCN published the first global list of national parks and protected areas which it has updated since.
IUCN's best known publication, the Red Data Book on the conservation status of species, was first published in 1964. IUCN began to play a part in the development of international treaties and conventions, starting with the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Environmental law and policy making became a new area of expertise. Africa was the focus of many of the early IUCN conservation field projects. IUCN supported the ‘Yellowstone model’ of protected area management, which restricted human presence and activity in order to protect nature. IUCN and other conservation organisations were criticized for protecting nature against people rather than with people; this model was also applied in Africa and played a role in the decision to remove the Maasai people from Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. To establish a stable financial basis for its work, IUCN participated in setting up the World Wildlife Fund
Finke Gorge National Park
Finke Gorge is a national park in the Northern Territory of Australia, 1318 km south of Darwin. The Park covers an area of 458 km2, includes the impressive desert oasis Palm Valley, home to a diverse range of plant species, many of which are rare and unique to the area. There are good opportunities for bushcamping in the park; the park is noted for Aboriginal cultural sites. The Central Australian Cabbage Palm is found only in prolifically here; the Finke River is claimed to be one of the oldest catchments in the world, with areas dating back 350 million years. The park and nearby areas hold cultural significance to the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people and there is evidence of early European settlement. A four-wheel-drive route down the Finke River to Illamurta Springs and Watarrka National Park begins at Finke Gorge. Bush walking is another common activity. Kalaranga lookout is an easy 20 minute climb, with views of the rock amphitheatre encircled by rugged cliffs; the Mpaara Walk introduces the mythology of the Western Arrernte Aboriginal culture.
In Palm Valley, the Arankaia Walk and the longer Mpulungkinya Walk meander among slender palms, returning across a scenic plateau. Protected areas of the Northern Territory Finke Gorge National Parks web page Official fact sheet and map
A canyon or gorge is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosive activity of a river over geologic timescales. Rivers have a natural tendency to cut through underlying surfaces wearing away rock layers as sediments are removed downstream. A river bed will reach a baseline elevation, the same elevation as the body of water into which the river drains; the processes of weathering and erosion will form canyons when the river's headwaters and estuary are at different elevations through regions where softer rock layers are intermingled with harder layers more resistant to weathering. A canyon may refer to a rift between two mountain peaks, such as those in ranges including the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Himalayas or the Andes. A river or stream and erosion carve out such splits between mountains. Examples of mountain-type canyons are Provo Canyon in Utah or Yosemite Valley in California's Sierra Nevada. Canyons within mountains, or gorges that have an opening on only one side, are called box canyons.
Slot canyons are narrow canyons that have smooth walls. Steep-sided valleys in the seabed of the continental slope are referred to as submarine canyons. Unlike canyons on land, submarine canyons are thought to be formed by turbidity currents and landslides; the word canyon is Spanish in origin, with the same meaning. The word canyon is used in North America while the words gorge and ravine are used in Europe and Oceania, though gorge and ravine are used in some parts of North America. In the United States, place names use canyon in the southwest and gorge in the northeast, with the rest of the country graduating between these two according to geography. In Canada, a gorge is narrow while a ravine is more open and wooded; the military-derived word defile is used in the United Kingdom. Most canyons were formed by a process of long-time erosion from table-land level; the cliffs form because harder rock strata that are resistant to erosion and weathering remain exposed on the valley walls. Canyons are much more common in arid than in wet areas because physical weathering has a more localized effect in arid zones.
The wind and water from the river combine to erode and cut away less resistant materials such as shales. The freezing and expansion of water serves to help form canyons. Water seeps into cracks between the rocks and freezes, pushing the rocks apart and causing large chunks to break off the canyon walls, in a process known as frost wedging. Canyon walls are formed of resistant sandstones or granite. Sometimes large rivers run through canyons as the result of gradual geological uplift; these are called entrenched rivers, because they are unable to alter their course. In the United States, the Colorado River in the Southwest and the Snake River in the Northwest are two examples of tectonic uplift. Canyons form in areas of limestone rock; as limestone is soluble to a certain extent, cave systems form in the rock. When these collapse, a canyon is left, as in the Mendip Hills in Somerset and Yorkshire Dales in Yorkshire, England. A box canyon is a small canyon, shorter and narrower than a river canyon, with steep walls on three sides, allowing access and egress only through the mouth of the canyon.
Box canyons were used in the western United States as convenient corrals, with their entrances fenced. The definition of "largest canyon" is imprecise, because a canyon can be large by its depth, its length, or the total area of the canyon system; the inaccessibility of the major canyons in the Himalaya contributes to their not being regarded as candidates for the biggest canyon. The definition of "deepest canyon" is imprecise if one includes mountain canyons as well as canyons cut through flat plateaus; the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet, is regarded by some as the deepest canyon in the world at 5,500 m. It is longer than the Grand Canyon in the United States. Others consider the Kali Gandaki Gorge in midwest Nepal to be the deepest canyon, with a 6400 m difference between the level of the river and the peaks surrounding it. Vying for deepest canyon in the Americas are the Cotahuasi Canyon and Colca Canyon, in southern Peru. Both have been measured at over 3500 m deep.
The Grand Canyon of northern Arizona in the United States, with an average depth of 1,600 m and a volume of 4.17 trillion cubic metres, is one of the world's largest canyons. It was among the 28 finalists of the New7Wonders of Nature worldwide poll; the largest canyon in Africa is the Fish River Canyon in Namibia. In August 2013, the discovery of Greenland's Grand Canyon was reported, based on the analysis of data from Operation IceBridge, it is located under an ice sheet. At 750 kilometres long, it is believed to be the longest canyon in the world; the Capertee Valley in Australia is reported as being the second largest canyon in the world. Some canyons have notable cultural significance. Evidence of early humanoids has been discovered in Africa's Olduvai Gorge. In the southwestern United States, canyons are important archeologically because of the many cliff-dwellings built in such areas by the ancient Pueblo people who were their first inhabitants; the following list contains only the most notable canyons of the world, arranged by continent and country.
Fish River Canyon Blyde Riv
The saltwater crocodile is a crocodilian native to saltwater habitats and brackish wetlands from India's east coast across Southeast Asia and the Sundaic region to northern Australia and Micronesia. It is among the largest crocodiles and regarded as dangerous by people who share the same environment, it was hunted for its skin throughout its range up to the 1970s, is threatened by illegal killing and habitat loss. Males grow to a length of up to 6 m exceeding 6.1 m or a weight of 1,000–1,075 kg. Females are much smaller and surpass 3 m, it is known as the estuarine crocodile, Indo-Pacific crocodile, marine crocodile, sea crocodile or informally as saltie. The saltwater crocodile is a opportunistic hypercarnivorous apex predator, it ambushes most of its prey and drowns or swallows it whole. It is capable of prevailing over any animal that enters its territory, including other apex predators such as sharks, varieties of freshwater and marine fish including pelagic species, invertebrates such as crustaceans, various reptiles and mammals, including humans.
Crocodilus porosus was the scientific name proposed by Johann Gottlob Theaenus Schneider who described a zoological specimen in 1801. Incomplete fossil records make it difficult to trace the emergence of the species; the genome was sequenced in 2007. The earliest fossil evidence of the species dates to around 4.0–4.5 million years ago and no subspecies are known. Scientists estimate that C. porosus is an ancient species that could have diverged from 12 to 6 million years ago. Genetic research has unsurprisingly indicated that the saltwater crocodile is related closely to other living species of Asian crocodile, although some ambiguity exists over what assemblage it could be considered part of based on variable genetic results. Other broad-snouted species such as mugger and Siamese crocodiles seem to be the most candidates to bear the closest relation among living species. Most sources state that the saltwater crocodile does not have subspecies. However, based on morphological variability, some have claimed that not only are there subspecies but that C. porosus houses a species complex.
In 1844, S. Müller and H. Schlegel attempted to describe crocodiles from Java and Borneo as a new species which they named C. raninus, subsequently given the informal common names of the Indonesian crocodile or Bornean crocodile. According to Ross, specimens of C. raninus can reliably be distinguished both from Siamese crocodiles and true saltwater crocodiles on the basis of the number ventral scales and on the presence of four postoccipital scutes which are absent in true saltwater crocodiles. Another attempt to derive a species came from Australia, Wells & Wellington, was based upon large-bodied large-headed and short-tailed crocodiles from Australia; the type specimen reported for this so-called species was a crocodile nicknamed "Sweetheart", inadvertently killed in 1979. However, this "species", C. pethericki, has been considered as a misinterpretation of the physiological changes undergone by large male crocodiles. However and Wellington's assertion that the Australian saltwater crocodiles may at least be distinctive enough from northern Asian saltwater crocodiles to warrant subspecies status, as could raninus from other Asian saltwater crocodiles, has been considered to bear validity.
The saltwater crocodile has a wide snout compared to most crocodiles. However, it has a longer snout than the mugger crocodile. A pair of ridges runs from the eyes along the centre of the snout; the scales are oval in shape and the scutes are either small compared to other species or are absent. In addition, an obvious gap is present between the cervical and dorsal shields, small, triangular scutes are present between the posterior edges of the large, transversely arranged scutes in the dorsal shield; the relative lack of scutes is considered an asset useful to distinguish saltwater crocodiles in captivity or in illicit leather trading, as well as in the few areas in the field where sub-adult or younger saltwater crocodiles may need to be distinguished from other crocodiles. It has fewer armour plates on its neck than other crocodilians; the adult saltwater crocodile's broad body contrasts with that of most other lean crocodiles, leading to early unverified assumptions the reptile was an alligator.
Young saltwater crocodiles are pale yellow in colour with black stripes and spots on their bodies and tails. This colouration lasts for several years; the colour as an adult is much darker greenish-drab, with a few lighter tan or grey areas sometimes apparent. Several colour variations are known and some adults may retain pale skin, whereas others may be so dark as to appear blackish; the ventral surface is yellow in colour on saltwater crocodiles of all ages. Stripes do not extend onto their bellies, their tails are grey with dark bands. Saltwater crocodiles are the largest extant riparian predators in the world. However, they start life small. Newly hatched saltwater crocodiles weigh an average of 71 g. Males reach sexual maturity around 3.3 m at around 16 years of age, while females reach sexual maturity at 2.1 m and 12–14 years of age. These sizes and ages are identical to those at average sexual maturity
Darwin, Northern Territory
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory of Australia, situated on the Timor Sea. It is the largest city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, with a population of 145,916, it is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities, acts as the Top End's regional centre. Darwin's proximity to South East Asia makes it a link between Australia and countries such as Indonesia and East Timor; the Stuart Highway begins in Darwin, extends southerly across central Australia through Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, concluding in Port Augusta, South Australia. The city is built upon a low bluff overlooking the harbour, its suburbs begin at Lee Point in the stretch to Berrimah in the east. Past Berrimah, the Stuart Highway goes on to its suburbs; the Darwin region, like much of the Top End, experiences a tropical climate with a wet and dry season. A period known locally as "the build up" leading up to Darwin's wet season sees temperature and humidity increase. Darwin's wet season arrives in late November to early December and brings with it heavy monsoonal downpours, spectacular lightning displays, increased cyclone activity.
During the dry season, the city has clear skies and mild sea breezes from the harbour. The greater Darwin area is the ancestral home of the Larrakia people. On 9 September 1839, HMS Beagle sailed into Darwin harbour during its survey of the area. John Clements Wickham named the region "Port Darwin" in honour of their former shipmate Charles Darwin, who had sailed with them on the ship's previous voyage which ended in October 1836; the settlement there became the town of Palmerston in 1869, but it was renamed Darwin in 1911. The city has been entirely rebuilt four times, following devastation caused by the 1897 cyclone, the 1937 cyclone, Japanese air raids during World War II, Cyclone Tracy in 1974; the Aboriginal people of the Larrakia language group are the traditional custodians and the first inhabitants of the greater Darwin area. They had trading routes with Southeast Asia, imported goods from as far afield as South and Western Australia. Established songlines penetrated throughout the country, allowing stories and histories to be told and retold along the routes.
The extent of shared songlines and history of multiple clan groups within this area is still contestable. The Dutch visited Australia's northern coastline in the 1600s and landed on the Tiwi Islands only to be repelled by the Tiwi peoples; the Dutch created the first European maps of the area. This accounts for the Dutch names such as Arnhem Land and Groote Eylandt; the first British person to see Darwin harbour appears to have been Lieutenant John Lort Stokes of HMS Beagle on 9 September 1839. The ship's captain, Commander John Clements Wickham, named the port after Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who had sailed with them both on the earlier second expedition of the Beagle. In 1863, the Northern Territory was transferred from New South Wales to South Australia. In 1864 South Australia sent B. T. Finniss north as Government Resident to survey and found a capital for its new territory. Finniss chose a site at Escape Cliffs, near the entrance to Adelaide River, about 60 kilometres northeast of the modern city.
This attempt was short-lived and the settlement abandoned by 1865. On 5 February 1869, George Goyder, the Surveyor-General of South Australia, established a small settlement of 135 people at Port Darwin between Fort Hill and the escarpment. Goyder named the settlement Palmerston, after the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. In 1870, the first poles for the Overland Telegraph were erected in Darwin, connecting Australia to the rest of the world; the discovery of gold by employees of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line digging holes for telegraph poles at Pine Creek in the 1880s spawned a gold rush which further boosted the young colony's development. In February 1872 the brigatine Alexandra was the first private vessel to set sail from an English port directly to Darwin, carrying people many of whom were coming to recent gold finds. In early 1875 Darwin's white population had grown to 300 because of the gold rush. On 17 February 1875 the SS Gothenburg left Darwin en route for Adelaide.
The 88 passengers and 34 crew included government officials, circuit-court judges, Darwin residents taking their first furlough, miners. While travelling south along the north Queensland coast, the Gothenburg encountered a cyclone-strength storm and was wrecked on a section of the Great Barrier Reef. Only 22 men survived, while between 112 people perished. Many passengers who perished were Darwin residents and news of the tragedy affected the small community, which took several years to recover. In the 1870s large numbers of Chinese settled at least temporarily in the Northern Territory. By 1888 there were 6122 Chinese in the Northern Territory in or around Darwin; the early Chinese settlers were from the Kwantung Province in south China. However at the end of the nineteenth century anti-Chinese feelings grew in response to the 1890s economic depression and the White Australia policy meant many Chinese left the Territory. However, some families stayed and became Australian citizens, established a commercial base in Darwin.
Darwin became the city's official name in 1911. The period between 1911 and 1919 was filled with political turmoil with trade union unrest, which culminated on 17 December 1918. Led by Harold Nelson, some 1000 demonstrators marched to Government House at Liberty
The cicadas are a superfamily, the Cicadoidea, of insects in the order Hemiptera. They are in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha, along with smaller jumping bugs such as leafhoppers and froghoppers; the superfamily is divided into two families, with two species in Australia, Cicadidae, with more than 3,000 species described from around the world. Cicadas have prominent eyes set wide apart, short antennae, membranous front wings, they have an exceptionally loud song, produced in most species by the rapid buckling and unbuckling of drumlike tymbals. The earliest known fossil Cicadomorpha appeared in the Upper Permian period, they live in trees, feeding on watery sap from xylem tissue and laying their eggs in a slit in the bark. Most cicadas are cryptic; the periodic cicadas spend most of their lives as underground nymphs, emerging only after 13 or 17 years, which may reduce losses by starving their predators and emerging in huge numbers that overwhelm and satiate any remaining predators. The annual cicadas are species.
Though these cicada have life cycles that can vary from one to nine or more years as underground larvae, their emergence above ground as adults is not synchronized so some appear every year. Cicadas have been featured in literature since the time of Homer's Iliad, as motifs in art from the Chinese Shang dynasty, they have been used in myths and folklore to represent carefree immortality. Cicadas are eaten in various countries, including China, where the nymphs are served deep-fried in Shandong cuisine; the name is directly from the onomatopoeic Latin cicada. Cicadas are arranged into two families: Cicadidae; the two extant species of Tettigarctidae include one in southern Australia and the other in Tasmania. The family Cicadidae is subdivided into the subfamilies Cicadinae, Tibicininae and Cicadettinae; some previous works included a family-level taxon called the Tibiceninae. The largest species is the Malaysian emperor cicada Megapomponia imperatoria. Cicadas are notable for the great length of time some species take to mature.
At least 3000 cicada species are distributed worldwide with the majority being in the tropics. Most genera are restricted to a single biogeographical region and many species have a limited range; this high degree of endemism has been used to study the biogeography of complex island groups such as in Indonesia and the Orient. There are several hundred described species in Australia and New Zealand, around 150 in South Africa, over 170 in America north of Mexico, at least 800 in Latin America, over 200 in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. About 100 species occur in the Palaearctic. A few species are found in southern Europe, a single species was known from England, the New Forest cicada, Cicadetta montana, which occurs in continental Europe. Many species await formal description and many well-known species are yet to be studied using modern acoustic analysis tools that allow their songs to be characterized. Many of the North American species are the annual or jarfly or dog-day cicadas, members of the Neotibicen, Megatibicen, or Hadoa genus, so named because they emerge in late July and August.
The best-known North American genus, may be Magicicada. These periodical cicadas have an long life cycle of 13 or 17 years, with adults and emerging in large numbers. Australian cicadas are found on tropical islands and cold coastal beaches around Tasmania, in tropical wetlands and low deserts, alpine areas of New South Wales and Victoria, large cities including Sydney and Brisbane, Tasmanian highlands and snowfields. Many of them go by common names such as cherry nose, brown baker, red eye, yellow Monday, whisky drinker, double drummer, black prince; the Australian greengrocer, Cyclochila australasiae, is among the loudest insects in the world. Forty-two species from five genera populate New Zealand, ranging from sea level to mountain tops, all are endemic to New Zealand and the surrounding islands. Fossil Cicadomorpha first appeared in the Upper Permian; the superfamily Palaeontinoidea contains three families. The Upper Permian Dunstaniidae are found in Australia and South Africa, in younger rocks from China.
The Upper Triassic Mesogereonidae are found in South Africa. The Palaeontinidae or "giant cicadas" come from the Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous of Eurasia and South America; the first of these was a forewing discovered in the Taynton Limestone Formation of Oxfordshire, England. Most fossil Cicadidae are known from the Cenozoic, the oldest unambiguously identified specimen is Davispia bearcreekensis from 59-56 Ma. One fossil genus and species based on a first-instar nymph has been reported from 98-99 Ma in the Late Cretaceous, although questions remain about its assignment to the Cicadidae. Cicadas are large insects made conspicuous by the courtship calls of the males, they are characterised by having three joints in their tarsi, having small antennae with conical bases and three to six segments, including a seta at the tip. The Auchenorrhyncha differ from other hemipterans by having a rostrum that arises from the posteroventral part of the head, complex sound-producing membranes, a mechanism for linking the wings
The red-winged parrot, is a parrot native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. It is found in grasslands, savannah and woodland. German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin described the species in 1788; the species names is derived from the Ancient Greek words erythros "red" and pteron "wing". Alternative common names include blood-winged parrot. Aprosmictus erythropterus erythropterus Aprosmictus erythropterus coccineopterus Aprosmictus erythropterus papua The red-winged parrot is about 30 to 33 cm in length. Both sexes have a bright green body; the male birds have a black nape, lower blue back and rump with a yellow tip on their tail, an orange bill and grey feet. The female birds have a yellowish-green body and the wings have red and pink trimmings. Distinguishing the females are dark irises and the lower back is a light blue colour. Juveniles have orange/yellow beaks and pale brown irises, otherwise resemble females in colouration. Males develop adult plumage at about the age of two years and females at the age of about a year and a half.
Their range is from the Pilbara, Western Australia to Cape York Peninsula, Queensland and as south as northeast South Australia. They are spotted in Papua New Guinea; these birds inhabit riverine forests, forest edges, acacia scrub, savanna and farmlands. They are seen in pairs or flocks near water, their diet typical consists of seeds from eucalyptus, berries and insects. The birds' call are "chink-chink" or thin screeching; the birds breed in spring and summer, but breeding times depends on their location. A hollow space in a tree at a height of 11 m from the ground acts as nest for breeding. Three to six white eggs are laid per season, the eggs being 31 mm in length; the female incubates. The chicks stay with their parents for about five weeks, it has been hybridised with the Australian king parrot. The hybrid is breeds true to form. Pizzey and Knight, Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Angus & Robertson, ISBN 0-207-19691-5 Video of Red-winged Parrot from western Qld on YouTube World Parrot Trust Parrot Encyclopedia - Species Profiles