An Orchid Hotspot
South Australia's Mt Lofty and Southern Flinders Ranges are home to about 90 species of orchid, many of which are endemic to the region. Habitat clearance and other threats have caused a massive decline in the distribution and abundance of most, and many species are now considered to be endangered. Much work is being done to save them from extinction.
The endangered orchid species are now scattered in very low numbers in isolated patches of vegetation in the Mt Lofty and Southern Flinders Ranges. Many of them occur in only a single population.
Ongoing habitat clearance continues to threaten these orchids. Competition with weeds threatens many of the species. Minimum impact weed management techniques are being applied to improve the orchids' habitats. Grazing by kangaroos, domestic stock and caterpillars is another threat for many species. Fencing projects and kangaroo management programs are being established in the region. A shortage of native species to pollinate the orchids is believed to be another major threat.
Field surveys are clarifying distribution and assessing threats for each of the species and recovery plans are being prepared for a number of the species.
Hand pollination is being conducted and a habitat management focus is intended to improve habitat availability for the plants' pollinators, especially native wasps.
Recovery Teams representing key interest groups have been formed, with the aim of preventing extinction of the orchids and if possible improving their conservation status over the next ten years. The Recovery Teams comprise government and non-government stakeholders and are promoting community awareness of, and participation in, the recovery program.
- Obtain information on what you can do from the Lofty Block Orchid Project Officer on (08) 8204 8721.
- Learn how to identify the orchids in your area and report any interesting finds to the project officers.
- Get involved in one of the annual working bees for orchids run in the Mt Lofty Ranges or Flinders Ranges.
- Join or form a local group to manage important bushland remnants in your area.
To find out more about saving your state's threatened species check out the Threatened Species Network web site at http://www.wwf.org.au/tsn/index.htm or call the Network's National Office on (02) 9281 5515.
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the Department of Environment and Heritage's Community Information Unit on free call 1800 803 772
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