Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saving Scaevola anchusifolia

Good news from Robyn. She sent photos of Scaevola anchusifolia to the plant breeding people at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority. This compact and pretty little shrub survives in only one site in Cottesloe. BGPA like the look of it and will take a small amount of propagation material with a view to breeding from it. If the breeding is successful it will ensure that Scaevola anchusifolia survives and prospers in Cottesloe.

( Text by Sue)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Weed Buster Week

From October 7th until October 15th is Weed Buster Week across Australia.This year the programme is designed to raise awareness of the problems weeds cause in farmland and bushland, as well as encouraging hands on involvement in reducing the spread of weeds - eg join a Coastcare or Friends of bushland group.
For other ways to aid the fight against weeds see the Weedbusters website where there is excellent information on weeds, pests, plant diseases and lots more.

The website has fact sheets including those on:

  • Gardening advice
  • How weeds are spread
  • Weed facts and figures
  • Weeds in Australia

These are a few sobering facts I gleaned from the website:

  • 65% of weeds introduced to the Australia landscape are 'escapes' from urban parks and gardens.
  • Six of Australia's worst invasive weeds have degraded over 20million hectares of natural and grazing lands.
  • More than 2,500 species of environmental weeds in Australia are now taking over Australian native vegetation.
  • Weeds know no borders!

From the Weed Busters website there are links to the Department of Agriculture website (click here to view) where there is lots of excellent information on weeds, plant diseases and much more.

As far as the 20 'WONS' species ( Weeds of National significance) are concerned, in Cottesloe only Asparagus asparagoides or bridal creeper is present in small pockets. If you have this weed in your garden please remove it as it spreads quickly!

The Declared Plant list is far longer and Cottesloe Coastcarers work hard on many of these weeds along the Cottesloe foreshore, with assistance from the Town of Cottesloe.

It is good to see that the sale of the declared weed Zantedeschia aethiopica or Arum lily (pictured), has at last been banned across Western Australia.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Conservation planning symposium

I was fortunate to attend a Conservation Planning Symposium on September 27 -28 as one of four community representatives sponsored by the Swan Catchment Council. It was a terrific opportunity to hear internationally recognised speakers and see the big picture for conservation planning in Western Australia.

For me the key points were:

  • Just 2.3% of the earth’s surface is home to more than half of the planet’s living species.
  • We live in one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots - the Southwest Australia Ecoregion. These hotspots are among the richest reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth and are those that are most threatened.
  • Physical threats to biodiversity include clearing and fragmentation of native vegetation, Phytophthora dieback, salinity, weeds, feral animals, fire, and climate change.
  • It costs $1 to preserve native vegetation and $100 to restore it.
  • The size and complexity of the issues in the Ecoregion will require large-scale conservation planning initiatives and collaboration between the many groups involved.
  • How humans value natural biodiversity profoundly affects its conservation.

And our role in all of this? The comments made about values in conservation planning were most relevant to me. Comments such as “one of the major barriers to conservation is an unsympathetic culture”, another “if people never see indigenous plants and animals in their local environment they can never learn to appreciate them.”

This is where Cottesloe Coastcare can make a difference by helping people to appreciate the beauty, diversity and importance of our local plants and animals.

The symposium was organised by the Southwest Australia Ecoregion Initiative - see their website for more information.

( Text by Sue)