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The glossary on this website is an information archive defining words, terms, and phrases with their meanings in relation to the Australia marsupial, the koala, as well as general environmental, flora and fauna terminology.

Through out this website, we have underlined terms that require a better understanding. Please click on any of the underlined words to be directed to their glossary definition.

We have acknowledged all source origins of defined words at the bottom of every description.


Annastacia Palaszczuk

Annastacia Palaszczuk (born 25 July 1969) is an Australian politician and current Premier of Queensland. She has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland since September 2006, representing the electorate of Inala. She held various ministerial portfolios in the ministry of Anna Bligh. Following Labor's defeat in the 2012 Queensland election, Palaszczuk succeeded Bligh as leader of Queensland Labor. After the defeat of the Newman government in the 2015 election, Palaszczuk became the first woman in Australia to become Premier of a state from Opposition. Her ministry was majority female (8 of 14), a first in Australia.
(Source: wikipedia)


The caecum is the first part of the large intestine. Shaped like a small pouch and located in the right lower abdomen, it is the connection between the small intestine and the colon.
(Source: www.gesa.org.au)


Carrying capacity

The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment.


A serious, debilitating and sometimes fatal disease caused by two different strains of the bacterium Chlamydia. It commonly causes ocular and urogenital disease manifested by keratoconjunctivitis (pink-eye), infertility and urine staining of the rump caused by cystitis (dirty tail).

Chlamydial disease is often complicated by secondary infections with other bacteria and fungi and is exacerbated by a number of factors including chronic stress, poor nutrition and immunosuppressive diseases.

Spread of the disease is almost certainly by the venereal route, and possibly also by close contact and flies.

Koalas suffering from Chlamydia have a good chance of recovery if they are treated in the early stages of the disease.
(Source: wildcare.org.au)


DNA is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.
(Source: wikipedia)



An ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. As ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment, they can be of any size but usually encompass specific, limited spaces (although some scientists say that the entire planet is an ecosystem).
(Source: wikipedia)


Endangered species

An Endangered (EN) species is a species which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List (founded in 1964, the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The IUCN Red List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies) as likely to become extinct.

"Endangered" is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations in the IUCN's schema after Critically Endangered (CR).
(Source: wikipedia)



Native or restricted to a certain place.


Exotic weeds and grasses

Weeds are one of the major threats to Australia's natural environment. Major weed invasions change the natural diversity and balance of ecological communities. These changes threaten the survival of many plants and animals because the weeds compete with native plants for space, nutrients and sunlight.

Almost all of Australia's native vegetation communities have been invaded, or are vulnerable to invasion by exotic species that could result in changes to the structure, species composition, fire frequency and abundance of native communities.

Nationally, invasive plants continue to invade the land with exotic species accounting for about 15% of flora. About one-quarter of them are either serious environmental weeds or have the potential to be serious weeds.

Weeds may out-compete native plants because they may not be affected by the pests or diseases that would normally control them in their natural habitats. Subsequently, the disturbed environment provides different conditions that better suit the invading weed.

As a result the weed may grow faster than native plants and successfully compete for available nutrients, water, space and sunlight. It will also reduce natural diversity by smothering native plants or preventing them from growing back after clearing, fire or other disturbance. Weeds replace the native plants that animals use for shelter, food and nesting.

Weeds are often excellent at surviving and reproducing in disturbed environments and are often the first species to colonise and dominate in these conditions.
(Source: environment.gov.au)



In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms (taxon), normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point.
(Source: wikipedia)


Flagship species

Flagship species are iconic animals that provide a focus for raising awareness and stimulating action and funding for broader conservation efforts. Strategially focusing efforts on these species will also help conserve the many other species which share their habitats and/or are vulnerable to the same threats.
(Source: wwf)



Describes the emergence of discontinuities (fragmentation) in an organism's preferred environment (habitat), causing population fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation can be caused by geological processes that slowly alter the layout of the physical environment (suspected of being one of the major causes of speciation), or by human activity such as land conversion, which can alter the environment much faster and causes extinctions of many species.
(Source: wikipedia)



In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less energy than other types of foods, and often toxic compounds. For this reason folivorous animals tend to have long digestive tracts and slow metabolisms.

Additionally, as has been observed in folivorous primates, they exhibit a strong preference towards immature leaves, which tend to be easier to chew, tend to be higher in energy, protein, lower in fibre and poisons than more mature fibrous leaves.
(Source: wikipedia)


The genotype is the set of genes in DNA which is responsible for a particular trait. The phenotype is the physical expression, or characteristics, of that trait. For example, two organisms that have even the minutest difference in their genes are said to have different genotypes. These two mice may have different genotypes and both can still be white if they share the particular phenotype for white fur.
(Source: yourdictionary.com)



A genus (pl. genera) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.
(Source: wikipedia)


Glyphosate herbicide

A broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses known to compete with native plants.



A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant, or other type of organism. A place where a living thing lives is its habitat. It is a place where it can find food, shelter, protection and mates for reproduction. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds a species population.

A habitat is made up of physical factors such as soil, moisture, range of temperature, and availability of light as well as biotic factors such as the availability of food and the presence of predators. A habitat is not necessarily a geographic area—for a parasitic organism it is the body of its host, part of the host's body such as the digestive tract, or a cell within the host's body.
(Source: wikipedia)


Koala food trees

Endemic native trees used as food sources by koalas. For a full list of koala food tree species, click here



Koala retrovirus (KoRV) is a that is present in many populations of koalas. It has been implicated as the agent of Koala Immune Deficiency Syndrome (KIDS), an AIDS-like immunodeficiency that leaves infected koalas more susceptible to infectious disease and cancers.

The virus has been attributed to 80% of deaths in captive koalas in Queensland from leukaemia, lymphoma, malignant tumours and immune deficiency disorders. In 2008, lead researcher Jon Hanger, said the virus was a threat that could lead to extinction of koalas in Queensland within 15 years, claiming 100% infection rates in studied populations that suggest an epidemic.
(Source: wikipedia)



Marsupials are an infraclass of mammals living primarily in Australasia and the Americas. A distinctive characteristic, common to most species, is that the young are carried in a pouch. Well-known marsupials include kangaroos, wallabies, the koala, possums, opossums, wombats and the Tasmanian devil. Other marsupials include the numbat, bandicoots, bettongs, the bilby, quolls, and the quokka.

Marsupials represent the clade (life-form group consisting of a common ancestor and all its descendants) originating with the last common ancestor of extant (meaning still alive) metatherians (a group of animals that includes all mammals more closely related to marsupials than to placentals). Like other mammals in the Metatheria, they are characterized by giving birth to relatively undeveloped young, often residing in a pouch with the mother for a certain time after birth.
(Source: wikipedia)



Mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil. Its purpose is to conserve moisture, improve the fertility and health of the soil, reduce weed growth and enhance the visual appeal of the area.
(Source: wikipedia)


Natural range

In biology, the range or distribution of a species is the geographical area within which that species can be found.
(Source: wikipedia)


Natural regeneration

Natural regeneration refers to the natural process by which plants replace or re-establish themselves. It is a powerful tool for anyone wishing to re-establish vegetation on a property at minimum cost and is an essential part of managing a bushland area. Areas that are managed in away that enables natural regeneration to occur can be self-sustaining and may not require further expensive establishment costs. Natural regeneration ensures that the plants established on a site are from parents that currently occupy the site.
(Source: wildlife.lowecol.com.au)


Phenol & tannin content

Tannins are chemicals which bind to protein and make it unable to be absorbed by animals. Tannins are generally found in greater concentrations in shrubs and trees, and can severely limit how much protein an animal is able to take in.

Phenols are toxins produced by plants, and serve to deter herbivores from eating their tissues.
(Source:Lindsay Van Someren)

Phascolarctos cinereus

The koala(Phascolarctos cinereus, or, inaccurately, 'koala bear) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats.

The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland's eastern and southern regions, inhabiting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. It is easily recognisable by its stout, tailless body and large head with round, fluffy ears and large, spoon-shaped nose. The koala has a body length of 60–85 cm (24–33 in) and weighs 4–15 kg (9–33 lb). Pelage colour ranges from silver grey to chocolate brown. Koalas from the northern populations are typically smaller and lighter in colour than their counterparts further south.

Koalas typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. Because this eucalypt diet has limited nutritional and caloric content, koalas are largely sedentary and sleep up to 20 hours a day. They are asocial animals, and bonding exists only between mothers and dependent offspring. Adult males communicate with loud bellows that intimidate rivals and attract mates. Males mark their presence with secretions from scent glands located on their chests.

Being marsupials, koalas give birth to underdeveloped young that crawl into their mothers' pouches, where they stay for the first six to seven months of their lives. These young koalas, known as joeys, are fully weaned around a year old.

Koalas have many natural / domestic predators and parasites. They are also threatened by various pathogens such as Chlamydiaceae bacteria and the koala retrovirus. Bushfires and droughts take a heavy toll on koala populations throughout the country pushing some to extinction.
(Source: wikipedia)


Pioneer species

Pioneer species are hardy species which are the first to colonize previously disrupted or damaged ecosystems, beginning a chain of ecological succession that ultimately leads to a more biodiverse steady-state ecosystem.
(Source: Wikipedia)


Queensland's faunal emblem

The koala was officially named the animal (faunal) emblem of Queensland in 1971, after a newspaper poll showed strong public support for this endearing marsupial.

The Queensland Government introduced the poll due to a proposal by state tourism ministers for all states to adopt a faunal emblem.
(Source: qld.gov.au)


Regionally vulnerable

Regionally vulnerable is a conservational classification defining the status of flora and fauna in a specific location. The definition is based on evidence showing the decline of a particular species over a designated period of time. For example, the koala was declared 'regionally vulnerable' in south east Queensland after statistics proved that the polulation had declined by 30% in less than a decade (2004).
(Source: KAI)



Rehabilitation or Restoration ecology emerged as a separate field in the 1980s. It is the scientific study supporting the practice of ecological restoration, which is the practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human intervention and action.
(Source: wikipedia)



riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream.
(Source: wikipedia)

Koala scats or faecal pellets (a technical name for poo) are either rounded or pointed on the ends and thicker in the middle.
(Source: Koala Action Inc)



In ecology, sustainability is how biological systems remain diverse and productive. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. In more general terms, sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes.

The organizing principle for sustainability is sustainable development, which includes the four interconnected domains: ecology, economics, politics and culture.
(Source: wikipedia)


Tube stock

The plural term for young plants ready for revegetation. Tubestock go through a process which involves a large consumption of water. The plastic tubes that the plant grows in are about 8 cm tall with a diameter of 4.25 cm are tightly filled with potting mix peat moss and vermiculite and a top dressing of a little slow release fertiliser. Local native seeds are preferable for any revegetation, and are sprinkled on top of the soil and snail/ slug pellets. The plants are then watered daily.

They can be kept in the tubestock pots for up to a month or two before the plants start to become rootbound (depending on plant species), in which case the pot will need to be soaked in water for 10-15 mins to loosen the roots in order for it to be easily removed from the pot without damage.
(Source: Wikipedia)


Vulnerable species

A vulnerable species is one which has been categorised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve. Vulnerability is mainly caused by habitat loss or destruction.
(Source: wikipedia)



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