Australia (officially called Commonwealth of Australia, in English: Commonwealth of Australia) is a sovereign country in Oceania, whose form of government is the federal constitutional parliamentary monarchy.
Flora and fauna
Although much of Australia is desert or semi-arid, it has a great diversity of habitats, from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests. Due to the great age of the continent, the low fertility of its soils, its different extremely variable climates and its prolonged isolation from the rest of the continents, the Australian biota is unique and diverse. About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 90% of fish in temperate coastal areas are endemic. Many of Australia’s ecoregions and the indigenous species that live in them are threatened by human activities and the introduction of alien species. Numerous protected areas have been created by the Biodiversity Action Plan to protect and conserve the unique ecosystems of the continent; 64 wetlands are registered as of international importance by the agreements of the Ramsar Convention and there are also 16 World Heritage Sites. Australia is ranked number 13 in the world in the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index. Canberra is the capital city of Australia according to simplyyellowpages.
Most of the Australian woody plants such as Angophora costata They are evergreen and are adapted to fire and drought, including many species of eucalyptus and acacia. There is a very rich variety of endemic legume species that thrive even in nutrient-poor soils thanks to their symbiosis with the Rhizobia bacteria, and fungi that make mycorrhiza possible. It is considered that the current predominance of xerophytic flora typical of semi-arid, arid and desert areas is due to a desertification process that began approximately 30,000 years ago due to the previous irruption of Homo sapiens between 50,000 / 45,000 years ago. In addition, 80 sea mountains, some more than 500 meters high and 25 kilometers wide; 145 underwater canyons, and corals two meters high and up to 2,000 years old.
The Australian fauna is famous for the presence of marsupials and monotremes; In addition to these typical and famous animals, Australia is characterized by the extraordinary abundance of poisonous animals, many of them lethal to humans: the Chironex fleckeri (sea wasp or irukandji) is a small jellyfish that frequents the seas of the «Half de Arriba »(the northern sector of Australia), also poisonous octopuses (such as Hapalochlaena lunulata) and poisonous fish, sea snakes and the extinct Arandaspis ; some of the deadliest spiders abound on land, many of which are common in cities. Another Australian characteristic: it is the continent with the greatest variety of lizards. The best known indigenous animal species include, as noted, monotremes (platypus and echidnas) and marsupials ; Australian marsupials are characterized by the adaptive variety of their species, being herbivores and carnivores and species that by evolutionary convergence look like rodents or that look like canids, and among them stand out various species of kangaroo, the koala, the wombat, the Tasmanian Devil and the Thylacine or Tasmanian tiger (extinct in the 1930s); and birds such as the emu, the kookaburras, the lyre bird or the cockatoo.
Among the native placental mammals the Flying Squirrel is striking ; the dingo was introduced by the Asians who traded with the Australian aborigines around 4000 BC. n. and.. In the waterways of the Australian north there are large crocodiles and other reptiles such as monitor lizards (especially Varanus giganteus), the Australian Water Dragon and some of the deadliest snakes on the planet. Many animal and plant species became extinct after human settlement, including the Australian megafauna some 30,000 years ago, such megafauna included “marsupial lions” and giant kangaroos; others have become extinct since European settlement, such as the Tasmanian Thylacine
Australia has a thriving Western mixed economy, with per capita income slightly higher than the UK, Germany and France, in terms of purchasing power parity. The nation is in second place in the IDC (Human Development Index) carried out in 2009 by the United Nations, being surpassed only by Norway. In recent years, the Australian economy has weathered the global economic downturn, which is visible in the growth of its domestic economy and in the maintenance of business and consumption. The Australian economy has not suffered a recession since the early 1990s. By April 2008, unemployment was 4.1%. The tertiary sector of the economy, including tourism, education and financial services, comprises 69% of GDP. Agriculture and the exploitation of natural resources comprise 3% and 5% of GDP respectively, but contribute substantially to national exports. The most important export markets for Australia include Japan, China, the United States, South Koreaand New Zealand. The income per Hab / USD in 2009 was 38,100.
Most Australians live in urban areas; Sydney is the city with the most residents in Australia. The trend towards urbanization is stronger in Australia than in many other parts of the world. Most of the roughly 21 million Australians live concentrated in major cities. Australia’s population has quadrupled since the end of World War I (1914-1918), fueled by an ambitious immigration program. In 2001, the top five groups that made up 23.1% of Australians born abroad were originally from the UK, New Zealand, Italy, Vietnam and China.. After the abolition of the White Australia policy in 1973, numerous government initiatives promoted ethnic harmony based on a multicultural policy.
The indigenous population ―aboriginal residents of the continent and islanders of the Torres Strait― was 410,003 residents (2.2% of the total population), detecting an important population growth of this group since the 1976 census, which registered a population of indigenous 115,953 people. The Australian Aborigines o Maori have high rates of incarceration and unemployment, lower educational levels, and a 17-year lower life expectancy than other Australians. Ethnic inequality is a political problem that still persists today. Like other developed countries, Australia is experiencing an aging demographic, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. A large number of Australians live outside their native country. Australia has maintained one of the most active immigration programs in the world to drive population growth. Many immigrants are well prepared when it comes to their education, although there are also refugees.