Rare plants in the spotlight on Threatened Species Day

Released 07/09/2017

Citizen scientists across Canberra have found some new rare plant species in our region, Conservator of Flora and Fauna Dr Annie Lane said today.

“On National Threatened Species Day, I’m pleased to say that Canberrans are very active in monitoring and even finding rare and threatened species,” Dr Lane said.

“Citizen scientists and professionals alike have been logging their findings on the Canberra Nature Map, which is a community website that has become the authoritative source on the distribution and abundance of plants, animals and fungi in the ACT and surrounding areas.

“The map has over 1000 members who, even in winter, are putting in up to 100 sightings per week,” Dr Lane said.

Citizen scientists have also been actively sighting already discovered rare species, with sightings of these doubling in the region in the last three years.

“Half of all ACT recordings over the last 110 years of rare or uncommon plants have come from Canberra Nature Map, which has only been operating for three years,” Dr Lane said.

“The Canberra Nature Map has transformed the way wildlife information is collected, reported and accessed across the region.

“For example, the Canberra Nature Map community has been called on to help ecologists understand how orchid presence and abundance on Black Mountain sandstone has been influenced by fire history.

“And on dozens of occasions Canberra Nature Map reports have been the first records of significant weeds or of problem plants in a reserve or private property, enabling land managers to quickly eradicate an infestation before it becomes a problem.

“Canberra Nature Map is not only for people who wish to record sightings of plants and animals, but is a wonderful vault of local information for anyone who wants to find out more about the ACT’s natural environment,” Dr Lane said.

See the map at http://canberra.naturemapr.org/

Photo opportunity:

Meet at the Bindubi Street entrance to the Aranda Bushland today at 10 am sharp this morning. Vehicles will be available to take journalists to see some of the rare plants in flower.

Photo captions:

Canberra Spider Orchid – Photos by Aaron Clausen. The Canberra Nature Map has greatly increased the known locations of this endemic endangered ACT species both within the known locations on Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie reserve and previously unrecorded locations.

Twining Fringe Lily – Photo by Mathew Frawley.

Blue Grass Lily – Photo by Michael Mulvaney

Both Twining Fringe Lily and Blue Grass Lily were previously thought to be uncommon species in the ACT. Although neither occur in large numbers at a particular site, Canberra Nature Map records have shown them to be widespread, with Blue Grass Lily known from 37 locations in the ACT and Twining Fringe lily from over 100 locations.

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate | Media Releases

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