G.A.M. Scott, T.J. Entwisle, T.W. May & G.N. Stevens
Environment Australia, May 1997
ISBN 0 6422 1399 2
The non-vascular plants covered in this report (mosses, liverworts, lichens, algae and fungi) have been referred to for some time as 'the forgotten flora'. Indeed, that was the title given to a workshop, convened in 1991 by the then Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, which recommended that this conservation overview be prepared.
In common with the invertebrates, Australian non-vascular plants have suffered from the tendency to allocate our finite conservation resources towards the higher profile vascular plants and vertebrates. Of course, the identification and study of non-vascular plants is made doubly difficult by their cryptic nature and the vast number of taxa represented.
This conservation overview was commissioned by the Endangered Species Program in an effort to advance the debate – and, hopefully, the level of action – on the conservation of non-vascular plants in Australia. Interestingly, the report is also a reminder of the ecological importance of non-vascular plants, and their enormous potential to provide us with a range of useful products.
The authors are to be congratulated for their efforts in covering such a difficult topic. The onus is now on us all – policy makers, land managers, researchers, the wider community – to make a serious commitment in addressing the recommendations. It would be to our considerable loss if, as a nation, our 'forgotten flora' were allowed to become our 'vanished flora'!
Head, Biodiversity Group