Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Native plants threatened, again, and again, and again

DOC have just released a list of 180 native plants that are on the endangered list. What things are pushing these plants towards extinction? The usual suspects - urban expansion, farm conversion to dairy, and an ever increasing number of vineyards.
Should we care? I say yes! We are kaitiaki, it is our job to care.

"Part of the increase in the number of endangered plants could be attributed to the discovery of new species of plants with naturally small populations, he said, but most threatened plants had declined after changes in their environment.
Scientists had discovered a new species of tree or shrub every year since 2000 - sometimes too late to save the species from extinction.
One new shrub was down to seven plants when it was discovered, and all the surviving plants were female.
"That's it - it's gone," said Mr de Lange."
And once it's gone it can never come back.

Kaka Beak are an example of survival.
"DoC botanist Peter de Lange said the larger kaka beaks, which were found in the wild mostly on the East Cape, had suffered after a boom in rounding up wild goats for farming in 1980s ended and many goats escaped into the wild.
DoC surveillance cameras also caught a hare devouring a 1m kaka beak in about five minutes - "sucking it up like spaghetti", said Mr de Lange.
Kaka beaks do have some human helpers. Mr de Lange said the efforts of East Cape school children had been the single biggest factor saving kaka beak from extinction.Children from schools between Tolaga Bay and Hicks Bay, led by DoC ranger Graeme Atkins, "more than anything else" had saved wild kaka beak by planting the bright red blooms along SH35."

Yes! the tamariki are saving the day, along with DOC.

"Mr de Lange said there was no one reason plants were struggling. It was a symptom of a wider problem - that changing land use was not being managed in a way that preserved the natural environment."
Let's just think about that last sentence, "Changing land use is not being managed in a way that preserved the natural environment."

Is it the pursuit of profit, the seperation between people and nature created and maintained because of the pressure of today's consumerist society? Are we going to continue to let this happen?

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