Plenary Symposium: Protecting the Diversity of Plants
Hopper, Stephen D. .
Conservation of the Southwest Australian Global Biodiversity Hotspot.
Like South Africa’s Greater Cape Floristic Region, the Southwest Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR) is species rich, with a Mediterranean climate and old, weathered, nutrient-deficient landscapes. This region has 7,380 native vascular plants (species/subspecies): one third described since 1970, 49% endemic, and 2,500 of conservation concern. Such a rich flora on old landscapes that have been exposed to European land-use practices is highly threatened, especially by introduced root rot diseases, weed invasion, rising saline water tables, and ongoing human activities destructive of native vegetation. The development of new theory for conservation on the world's oldest, least fertile landscapes with long-standing maritime climates suggests that several accepted paradigms of conservation biology may not apply. Conservation programs in the SWAFR must minimize soil removal and use local germplasm in restoration programs. Creating corridors to link naturally fragmented plant communities may well be detrimental. Every vegetation remnant, no matter how small, is worth conserving in the SWAFR, as high levels of species' turnover occur over short distances. Some exciting new work in regional planning and restoration ecology is underway, but much remains to be learnt about the biology and conservation of this remarkable flora.
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1 - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, UK
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: International Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 10:30 AM