The intention in this paper is to explore the ecological context of the Christmas Island Whiptail Skink. Emphasis focuses on two primary aspects of that ecology. This paper presents the situation and its implications and argues that there is strong correspondence among the factors involved…
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Christmas Island is in the Eastern Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia, and is part of the Christmas and Cocos Islands tropical forests eco-region (Christmas Island, ND). It is located at precisely 10°305 105°40E; 134 km2) (Drake, Bodey, Russell, D.R. Towns, & Ruffino, 2011). The island belongs to Australia, which fact has resulted in an ecological nightmare for that nation. This topic is, therefore, a timely and significant one. About 60 million years ago, a volcano rose above the surface of the sea. An atoll of coral formed around it and this resulted in limestone deposits. About 20 million years ago, this volcanic mountain began to sink into the sea, and the coral had to work hard to deposit enough limestone to stay in shallow water. Then, about 10 million years ago, three uplift incidents occurred, resulting in the limestone capped mountain is divided into three terraces. Today the island is 361 meters above sea level, covered in vegetation and rainforest, isolated and surrounded by deep water (Pavils, 2011). The raised reefs on the highest portion of the island were noted, 125 years ago, to be the highest ones known in the world (Lister, January 1888) Humans first settled on Christmas Island 120 years ago (Gilligan, 2011). In 1899, phosphate mining destroyed some of the rainforests and poisoned the marine environment, as well, leaving roads and mining sites as scars on the primeval earth, and damaging coral in the sea (Gilligan, 2011). In 1980, a National Park was established (Pavils, 2011). The island was nearly used for a Russian-Asian space program but was saved by an environmental assessment that scared off investors, fortunately (Pavils, 2011). Now, more than 60% of Christmas Island is under the protection of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities, 2002)
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