Melbourne University Press, February 2009. 240 pages, paperback
A detailed snapshot of the condition of Australia’s remarkable plants, wildlife and their living landscapes. It explains the main threats to species and what’s being done to address them, provides an intriguing insight into law and politics and suggests what else must happen to slow the fast decline of our natural heritage. From the perspective of a female biologist and advocate with extensive experience in front line conservation, the book outlines the history of change to Australia’s environment and explains why so many plants and animals are now on a downward slide to extinction. Many familiar factors – the loss of native habitat, the introduction of foreign plants and animals and the impacts of agriculture and excessive development among them – continue to challenge our native species and much is already being done to help them. But too much of this action does not deal with the causes. With a distinctly polemic slant, this book examines what the main conservation approaches are, how these are affected by law and politics, who holds the power, and why the strongest lobby group in the country, its forces of concerned individuals, are so far failing to play their vital role in the conservation battle.
About the author
Nicola Markus has worked as a zookeeper, science educator, wildlife consultant, lobbyist and freelance writer for international nature magazines Newton, Geo and International Wildlife. In the 1990s she based her PhD on research on the flying fox, followed by five years as species program manager with WWF-Australia. Her first book, Wild Australia, a collaboration with wildlife photographer Theo Allofs, was published in 2006. Since completing On our watch, she has taken on the role of Chief Conservation Officer with Bush Heritage Australia.