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Tasmania as a Unique Ecosystem

Introduction

Planet Earth is home to millions of diverse creatures, living both everywhere and in strictly isolated environments. While there are few threats to existence for species common to all continents, endemic organisms, because of their uniqueness and low prevalence, are in danger of disappearing. The most critical situation is when an invasive species is introduced into a harmoniously developing ecosystem, bringing its corrections into trophic chains and natural selection. This essay aims to conclude the discussion of Tasmania’s ecosystem with unique biodiversity and the influence of wild cats that have historically been delivered to the island.

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Tasmanian devil

Its geographical distance from land mostly determines the uniqueness of Tasmania’s ecosystem. Evolutionary driving forces lead to species that are individual to the area and have the property of reproductive isolation concerning even related species. For Tasmania, whose biome is represented by subtropical eucalyptus forests, the keystone species is the Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus harrisii (Grueber et al., 2019). It is a small marsupial mammal with black color, strong limbs, and ears. The devil’s jaw is durable and robust so that with one bite, it can hurt the victim’s skull. However, under changed climatic conditions or in the absence of animal food, the mammal quickly switches to plant tubers and roots, making the Tasmanian devil omnivorous. If one imagines the island’s bionts as branches of a tree, the node of contact of all the branches converges at a keystone point. It is the devil who, by virtue of its omnivores and widespread distribution, has a decisive influence on other inhabitants of the ecosystem (Agnos, 2018). In other words, the devil’s disappearance is likely to destroy Tasmania’s ecosystem if it cannot adapt.

Invasive Cat

At the same time, the island is not abandoned, as in the 17th century, the first Europeans arrived in Tasmania. Along with the colonists, domestic cats arrived on the island, which became invasive to the unique flora and fauna. Despite the harmony of natural processes, the presence of a new element in the ecosystem was detrimental as cats began to drive devils and other predators from their ecological niche. The result was a changed ecosystem structure, following the death of endemic species (Lyall, 2018). Methods for controlling invasion can include both natural measures and human actions. From a natural control perspective, cats may likely be displaced by the emergence of stronger predators feeding on smaller zoophagous as well as cats themselves. At the same time, the Tasmanian Administration enacted legislation in 2009, regulating the humane destruction of wild cats if they are found on agricultural land (Cat Management in Tasmania, n.d.). The island authorities continue to develop strategies to combat and contain the spread of wild cats, as wild cats remain an obstacle to the harmonious development of endemics. Ironically, modern man fights animals whose ancestors were brought to the island by travelers.

Endangered Species

An impressive example of Tasmania’s only endangered species is the Eastern Quoll. It is a small marsupial mammal, the closest relative to the Tasmanian devil, and like the devil in danger of extinction. There are several reasons for this, but the most obvious ones include the spread of invasive species, anthropogenic impact on forests, equivalent to the loss of habitat, and poaching. However, quoll is considered an essential endemic species listed in the Red List, and researchers estimate that the number of mature species does not exceed 12,000 (Burbidge & Woinarski, 2016). This reason dictates the need for quality change: Tasmania has established nature reserves that guarantee the right living conditions for quolls (Fancourt, 2016). Furthermore, the authorities are planning to actively introduce quotas for the original habitat, Australia, as soon as natural numbers rise to acceptable levels.

References

Agnos, C. (2018). How devils heal forests. Sustainable Human. Web.

Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J. (2016). Dasyurus viverrinus [Data set]. Web.

Cat Management in Tasmania. (n.d.). Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. Web.

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Fancourt, B. (2016). Eastern quolls edge closer to extinction – but it’s not too late to save them. The Conversation. Web.

Grueber, C. E., Peel, E., Wright, B., Hogg, C. J., & Belov, K. (2019). A Tasmanian devil breeding program to support wild recovery. Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 31(7), 1296-1304. Web.

Lyall, J. M. (2018). Native and invasive mammalian carnivores in a forestry and agricultural landscape in northwest Tasmania [PDF document]. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 12). Tasmania as a Unique Ecosystem. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/tasmania-as-a-unique-ecosystem/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 12). Tasmania as a Unique Ecosystem. https://studycorgi.com/tasmania-as-a-unique-ecosystem/

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"Tasmania as a Unique Ecosystem." StudyCorgi, 12 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/tasmania-as-a-unique-ecosystem/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Tasmania as a Unique Ecosystem." January 12, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/tasmania-as-a-unique-ecosystem/.


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StudyCorgi. "Tasmania as a Unique Ecosystem." January 12, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/tasmania-as-a-unique-ecosystem/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Tasmania as a Unique Ecosystem." January 12, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/tasmania-as-a-unique-ecosystem/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Tasmania as a Unique Ecosystem'. 12 January.

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