Photo © Simon Phelps
The Australian Outback: Icon, opportunity and obligation
Outback is a delightfully vague, evocative term for Australian landscapes also dubbed the inland, the never never, and the back of beyond. We're all familiar with the caricatures of the Outback, but how many of us have ever delved beneath to appreciate the non-iconic treasures, understand the tribulations and recognise the values under threat in Australia's heartland?
John Woinarski and Carol Booth urge us to embrace the privilege and responsibility of keeping intact one of the last vast wild places left on earth. A failure to do this, they say, will be to diminish what is quintessentially Australian.
Photo © Les Hall
Location! Location! Sheath-tail bats and their rooms with a view
If you find a roost of sheath-tail bats, you are sure to enjoy the scenery. Whether it be a wind cave at Uluru, a sea cave in Torres Strait or a crack in the Kimberly coastline, over their 40 years of research together on bats, Les Hall and Greg Richards have come to greatly appreciate this group of microbats' taste in real estate. In this profile, they explore the sheath-tails' high-flying habits and preference for rooms with a view.
Wasp (Amphylaeus agogenohylaeus) on a bottlebrush
Photo © Jenny Thynne
Lost in a floral desert
Mass-blooming crops create a glorious vista, and it's easy to assume that bees and other pollinators love it as much as we do, but how sweet really are these crops for native insects? Manu Saunders considers Australia's blooming plantation industry from the viewpoint of wild pollinators.
Photo © David Morgan
Sensitive detector and lethal weapon combined, there are few implements in nature as versatile as the snout of a sawfish. These ancient predators, once abundant in coastal tropical and subtropical waters around the world, are fast disappearing, and Australia is critical to their survival. Nicole Phillips and Barbara Wueringer reveal how vital northern Australia is to the future of these active and agile hunters.