What is biodiversity and why is it important?

Morton, Steve, and Hill, Rosemary (2014) What is biodiversity and why is it important? In: Morton, Steve, Sheppard, Andy, and Lonsdale, Mark, (eds.) Biodiversity: science and solutions for Australia. CSIRO, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 1-12.

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A writhing mass of Murray crays is revealed as the drum-net emerges pull by pull from the river, the greenish water draining in pulses from its mesh. The boy watches with keen anticipation as his father strains at a length of fencing wire attached to the net. There are such numbers of crayfish that they crawl in confusion over each other and around the sodden sheep's head that acts as bait. His father unlatches the door of the net and carefully extracts the animals, avoiding harm to his fingers by grasping the body behind the dangerous fore-claws. If eggs of deep crimson are found on the under-tail of a female, she is tossed back into the water, as are young individuals. The boy helps his father carry the wriggling hessian bag containing the catch a hundred metres or so to the homestead. They walk in the shade of the stately, heavy-limbed river red-gums that line the stream, the foliage glowing green and bronze in the late afternoon sun. The boy could hardly be happier.

In the laundry the copper is quickly lit and, as soon as its water is boiling, the crays are dropped in to cook. Only a short time is required before they can be lifted out, their original muddy green colours turned to a rosy blush. Father and son sit on the verandah while breaking up the crays and placing the chunky flesh from the fore-claws and tails into a bowl for the family's evening meal. They suck the juicy slivers of meat from the slim hind-claws and scoop out and eat the fatty deposits lining the carapaces. The flavours are deliciously sweet and subtle, a delicacy of taste never to be bettered in the boy's subsequent life. Now he is at a peak of delight, deeply at home in an Australian paradise.

Item ID: 47596
Item Type: Book Chapter (Scholarly Work)
ISBN: 978-0-643-10777-9
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2017 03:48
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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