Strange but when I think of plant protection I think of conservation methods to protect plants but government bodies, farming lobbies and many others think of protecting hybrids or protecting vegetables, grains and fruit crops from pests and diseases. This subject has been covered extensively in previous chapters. Here I mean plants need protection from their most vial enemy humans. Environment reduction, deforestation, logging, air pollution, rising sea levels, yes plants need protection, from us.
To protect plants is to protect the whole environment but to protect animals is to protect a small secular part of the environment without any cohesion.
Protecting the plants means protecting the environment from further loss of species diversity, protecting ecosystems from the loss of viability and function as a result of feral plants and animals, protecting plants from erosion and salt inundation and the rapid spread of harmful chemicals.
Australia has over 500 National Parks in a world where there are over 7,000 National Parks. Over 28 million hectares of land is designated as national parkland, accounting for almost four per cent of Australia’s land areas. It is estimated that 10% plus has to be locked away to have any real impact and the real sustainable level is in fact 20% to 25%) In addition Australia has a further six per cent semi protected in State Forests, Nature Parks, Nature Reserves and Conservation Reserves.
National parks are usually large wilderness areas that are protected because they have relatively unspoilt landscapes/seascapes and a diverse number of native plants and animals. These areas are off limit to commercial activities such as farming, logging while human activity is strictly monitored.
The function of National Parks is to protect native flora and fauna, clean the air we breathe, and clean the water we drink and what’s more National Parks are places of learning, enjoyment and heritage and culture.
Plants provide a whole range of services to the people of Australia and the Australian economy.
Plants need protection because without them our ENJOYMENT and well being will decrease dramatically.
Plants need protection because the environmental PRESERVATION of the soil, water and air are all interrelated to the HEALTH and well being of plants and us.
Plants need protection because the RESEARCH needed in medicine, food and textiles is far from complete. Less than 5% have been researched.
Plants need protection because we need them to maintain varietal diversity for FOOD and TEXTILES
Plants need protection because they are the very foundation of all our TOURISM ventures including the protection of the Great Barrier Reef National Park.
Plants need protection because they have a long HISTORY in cultural Australia including food sources, medicines in Aboriginal Culture
Plants need protection because historically we can trace evolutionary patterns, weather patterns and TIME.
Plant diversity needs protection because they are the best weapon we have against wind, water and chemical EROSION.
Plant diversity needs protection because they are the best weapon we have against GLOBAL WARMING.
Plant diversity needs protection because I LOVE THEM.
While many of us distrust and malign governments, it is there because it is the institution through which the people are able to maintain order, provide public services, and enforce decisions that are binding on all members of society. Without a government, the basic rights of the people and plants would have no protection at all from the incessant attacks of non conservationists.
Tourism is one of 4 big exports in Australia. Local economies often depend on the tourists to rent lodgings, buy meals, shopping, and enjoying the entertainment and recreation in the area all of which are dependent upon the health of the local Parks and vegetation.
It is difficult to determine the number of people who visited Australia’s National Parks last year because entry is complex and entry is free. For a start I directly visited 11 National Parks and was unable to travel to a 12th due to inclement weather conditions on the Great Barrier Reef. As I had 4 students from China with me, that constituted 55 entries in total. Each student added an additional $1,000 a week for the weeks they were in the country. This year (2015) we will introduce 16 more Chinese to the wilderness areas in Australia over 4 weeks. These persons want to see nature at its best and the best sources are those areas that are close to wilderness, protected with areas large enough to sustain large healthy populations with good genetic variation. Our contribution is small but at the same time it is low impact, no vehicles well instructed and photographic friendly.
America by contrasts charges for visitations to their National Parks and had 280 million visitations for the year. This created some 251,000 jobs and 9.34 billion dollars in income. The combined increase in the labor market in the surrounding districts increased a further 162,400 jobs worth 4.8 billion dollars with another 8.15 billion created in value added products for the tourists.
Tourism is the fastest growing industry sector within the Australian economy. Like the students above most foreigners who come to Australia want more wildlife and that is provided for by National Parks and plants. This is why we need to protect plants.
Further Comments from Readers:
“Hi reader, it seems you use The Bible of Botany a lot. That’s great as we have great pleasure in bringing it to you! It’s a little awkward for us to ask, but our first aim is to purchase land approximately 1,600 hectares to link several parcels of N.P. into one at The Pinnacles NSW Australia, but we need your help. We’re not salespeople. We’re amateur botanists who have dedicated over 30 years to saving the environment in a practical way. We depend on donations to reach our goal. If you donate just $5, the price of your coffee this Sunday, We can help to keep the planet alive in a real way and continue to bring you regular updates and features on Australian plants all in one Botanical Bible. Any support is greatly appreciated. Thank you.”
In the spirit of reconciliation we acknowledge the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl and all aboriginal nations throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and future for the pleasures we have gained.