Australia’s largest rainforest and grassland biome will be protected from the coronavirus pandemic after a $5.5 billion plan to expand the area’s natural ecosystem was unveiled last week.
The Australian Government’s Plan for Australia’s Landscape, Wildlife and Wetlands (PLAW), which was released on Wednesday, aims to improve Australia’s landscapes and protect biodiversity.
But the Government has said it would also need to protect some of Australia’s most iconic landscapes, such as the iconic Mt Albert and Mt St Helens in Western Australia.
A study by scientists at the University of Adelaide and the Australian National University estimated that protecting these areas would increase Australia’s GDP by $2.7 trillion over 20 years.
The study, published in Nature Communications, said the area could be protected for the equivalent of an area the size of New York state over 20 to 30 years.
In addition, the plan would boost the productivity of some of the world’s most important rainforests and improve the quality of the natural environment, such an increased biodiversity and the health of the local communities, the researchers said.
The PLAW aims to protect the world-renowned Mt Albert, a volcano with a lava flow that erupted in 1884, and the iconic Mount St Helen, a mountain in the Great Barrier Reef that is home to rare corals.
The two volcanoes are amongst the most spectacular in Australia, and are often seen in the landscape during the summer months.
The area was considered one of the most important sites in the world when the first Australian explorer Sir John Franklin landed there in 1838.