[ASC-media] CSIRO MEDIA ALERT: BUTTERFLY ACTION PLAN LAUNCH AT MELBOURNE ZOO, 27TH FEB

Leane.Regan at csiro.au Leane.Regan at csiro.au
Wed Feb 26 09:58:54 EST 2003


MEDIA ALERT
 
26th February 2003 	
					
PLAN MORE THAN A WING OR A PRAYER FOR ENDANGERED BUTTERFLIES

An action plan to protect one of nature's most beautiful and fragile creatures will be launched in Melbourne today by Dr David Kemp, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage. 

Environment Australia's Butterfly Action Plan provides a framework for the conservation and management of Australia's butterflies, particularly species at risk of extinction.
"Butterflies are key organisms for the monitoring of biodiversity and they constitute an important system for testing scientific hypotheses in ecology, evolution and animal behaviour," says Dr Don Sands, from CSIRO Entomology in Brisbane.
"The world's living resources, its biodiversity, provide us with life support - food, fuel, fibres and pharmaceuticals, as well as 'ecosystem services' such as clean air and pollination," says Dr Sands who, with colleague Dr Tim New from
Latrobe University, co-authored the Action Plan.
"If we want to continue to use these resources in a sustainable way, it is vital that we develop our knowledge of species and their characteristics," he says.
The Butterfly Action Plan is designed to do just that by providing a framework for the conservation and management of butterfly fauna, especially those that might be at risk in a conservation sense.
"Butterflies tend to get recognised because they are beautiful, but beauty aside, butterflies are an important indicator of the health of the environment - how they are coping gives us an idea of how other invertebrates (which make up 99
per cent of all animals on earth) are managing," says Dr Sands.
The plan was developed in response to a steady increase in the number of threatened butterfly species in Australia, caused largely by habitat disturbance, invasive exotic plants, and urban, commercial and forestry activities.
Co-author, Dr Tim New from La Trobe University, said the plan would help  Australia use butterflies effectively and broadly in conservation.   
"Firstly as 'indicators' to assess changes in the environment and secondly as tools for the identification and conservation of areas of special significance," says Dr New.
Identifying threats to butterflies requires different methods from those applied to larger, longer-lived vertebrates. For example the need to understand variation in butterfly numbers from year to year resulting from natural causes as
opposed to human induced disturbance," says Dr New.   
Amateur and professional entomologists from around the country contributed to  the plan through their local knowledge of species abundance and habitats and threatening processes such as habitat loss, exotic invasions, changed fire regimes,
pesticides and stock grazing.
The plan is available on CD-ROM and can also be accessed from the Environment Australia website on www.ea.gov.au/biodiversity.threatened/action/butterfly

For further information:

Dr Don Sands, CSIRO Entomology	07 3214 2803, 0403517224
Dr Tim New, La Trobe University          03 9479 2247, 0438 606 955  
Mr Malcolm Robertson, CSIRO Entomology, 02 6246 4040, 0408 627 685


MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND THE LAUNCH BY DR DAVID KEMP OF THE BUTTERFLY ACTION PLAN ON THURSDAY 27TH FEBRUARY 2003 AT 10.30AM.

THE LAUNCH WILL BE HELD AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE, MELBOURNE ZOO, LIGHT REFRESHMENTS  WILL BE SERVED
BUTTERFLY IMAGES ALSO AVAILABLE FROM CSIRO ON 6246 4040 OR FROM OUR WEBSITE AT
<http://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/>


***************************
Leane Regan
Science Journalist
CSIRO Media Unit
Limestone Avenue
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6276 6513
Fax:     02 6276 6821
Mobile: 0419 236 519
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