snippets

It is a small island with a hilly terrain full of banyan trees, mango, coconut and the endemic eucalyptus. There is a profusion of land and sea birds with kangaroos roaming freely in the woods. There is a butterfly reserve to take care of the species. Over the centuries, Magnetic Island has witnessed a phenomenon where the rainforest species are slowly but surely colonising the woodland species. In the coastal regions, and there are numerous beautiful beaches, a mangrove estuary exists. Many species of marine animals breed in the sheltered coastal habitat. This area acts as a natural filtration system between the land and the sea, preventing pollutants being washed into the waters.

The mangrove habitat thrives despite the fact that these are flooded twice a day with salt water. The roots give protection apart from feeding and breeding many species of marine life. Another ecosystem found on the island is the coastal dune complex, which plays an important role in stabilising the coastline. Fourteen vegetation types have been identified in the coastal dune complex. There is an on-going Wetlands Rehabilitation Project through revegetation, rehabilitation and promotion of biodiversity. The freshwater lagoon ecosystem supports life of native animals and birds throughout the year.
Cyclone Althea caused extensive damage to the island in December 1971. It has been a slow recovery over the years. Use of solar energy is being encouraged while citizens are advised to conserve water and energy through careful use. Sustainable use of resources is encouraged. Recycling of plastics, glass, metal, and paper are encouraged while the use of plastics is not. Eco-friendly tourism is promoted on the numerous bays.

The fact is the island is just about 60 km away from The Great Barrier Reef, which means a profusion of seashells and seaweed are seen strewn on the beach. However, problems associated with human alteration of the natural habitat is matter of concern, though these are being minimised by actions such as use of public transport using natural gas, use of bicycles, no houses on the beach, keeping beaches clean and safe, conserving resources and so on. A certain area in the hills is designated as a national park with limited access to people. ‘Bush-walking’ by visitors with the help of guides is a way of discovering the pristine forests.

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