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Critically endangered Aust'n insect-eating plant threatened by development

Xinhua, October 26, 2016 Adjust font size:

Developers and conservationists are at war in Western Australia (WA) over a rare insect-eating plant which has become endangered by re-zoning of the land it inhabits.

Byblis gigantea, commonly known as the rainbow plant, survives by catching and digesting small insects.

It has only ever grown in the wetlands around WA's capital of Perth. But one of four remaining populations of the rainbow plant in WA is under threat because the site has been rezoned for industrial development, a move scientists have condemned as "disastrous."

Perth's City of Gosnells council rezoned the Alison Baird Reserve, 20 kilometers southeast of Perth, for immediate industrial development without a buffer zone, likely killing the byblis' in the reserve, the only population of the plant for which dedicated studies exist.

Hans Lambers, a biologist at the University of Western Australia (UWA), said there was no environmental impact statement done for the Greater Brixton Street Wetlands Bush Forever site, of which the reserve is a part, during the process.

"We consider this a serious oversight... a serious flaw in the environmental assessment process," Lambers said in a written submission to the WA Planning Commission with other high-profile WA scientists, including WA Scientist of the Year Kingsley Dixon.

"(This) is the highest biodiversity Bush Forever Site in the Perth region... it includes multiple Matters of National Environmental Significance listed under the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

"Areas like this make Perth the most biodiverse city in the world. It is something to be proud of and look after.

"If this goes ahead, Alison Baird Reserve and surrounding wetland areas will deteriorate beyond repair. It will be a tremendous loss for humanity and science."

Lambers said the region was home to more than 300 plant species, including 18 threatened plant species and 26 carnivorous plant species. Endit