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Focus on protecting WA wildflowers

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016 Rebecca Gredley

Western Australia's wildflowers are truly unique, with nearly half the plants found in the South West region not found anywhere else in the world.

Up to 50 new plant species are discovered every year throughout the state and are even being found closer to Perth.

Department of Parks and Wildlife senior principal research scientist David Coates said protecting the wildflowers from threats such as habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, invasive weeds and disease was a key goal.

"While there are 425 plants on the state's threatened species list, with 160 critically endangered, we have staff in the field protecting species using weed control, fencing, reintroducing plants and collecting seeds for our threatened flora seed centre," Dr Coates said.

DPAW's Threatened Flora Seed Centre has stored seeds from three-quarters of the state's threatened plant species and has also reintroduced more than 60 threatened species into the wild.

Dr Coates said many of the reintroduced species were doing well and biodiversity conservation was incredibly important as the wildflowers were part of WA's heritage.

"We need to ensure, as best as we can, that they remain," he said.

"There's a lot of tourism generated from the wildflowers. Scientists come from around the world to study them and protecting them protects many of our unique animals as well," he said.

There is a rare flora search and rescue community project between WWF, the Wildflower Society and DPAW which aims to collect more data on rare plant species that are poorly known and thought to be threatened.

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