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New seed garden to protect Australian plants from extinction


Xinhua
19 Sep 2022

CANBERRA, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Ecologists have established a plant seed garden on an Australian island to protect native flora from extinction due to bushfires.

The 5,000 square meters Threatened Flora Seed Production Garden (TFSPG) on Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia (SA) is home to about 900 varieties of native plants, offering a safeguard from future crises.

It has been established in response to the devastating 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires.

Nearly 50 percent of Kangaroo Island was burned in the fires, threatening its biodiversity.

Bradley Bianco, an ecologist, said the increasing frequency and intensity of bushfires prompted concerns about the local flora.

He said the garden "introduces the community to Kangaroo Island's rare and threatened species in a setting that's enjoyable to be in."

"One of the bigger issues is fire frequency. The intervals between fires appear to be coming contracted, so we're having hotter fires that cover more ground more frequently," Bianco told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

"We're not sure how plants are going to be able to cope with this new fire regime."

Invasive species, bushfires and land clearing have left one-quarter of SA's native plant species under threat with some level of extinction.

The TFSPG has been established within the Cygnet Park Sanctuary with the help of SA's Nature Conservation Society on land donated by environmental philanthropists David and Penny Paton.

At the end of the day, this project is for the island's community, Bianco said.

"It's a unique opportunity for both visitors and people from the local community to see and engage with the flora in one convenient, central location."

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