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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Environment Expo + World Wide Wattle
Today, an Environmental Expo will be taking place in the "wheatbelt" town of Dalwallinu in Western Australia.

This expo will showcase some of pioneering work that is being done in this biologically diverse region to protect endangered plants, drain cleared farmland suffering from waterlogging + dryland salinity and control introduced weeds + feral pests.

This event will also see the official launch of the World Wide Wattle website, an outstanding labour-of-love produced by, top Acacia taxonomist, Bruce Maslin.

There are over 950 species of Acacia in Australia and they have provided medicine, food, boomerangs + inspiration to people ever since the continent was first settled some 50,000 years ago...

More recently, one species (Acacia pycnantha) has been made Australia's floral emblem, and the plants' unmistakeable flowers and foliage have been used to form the basis for the nation's green and gold sporting colours, coat of arms + symbolic honours. There's even been an official National Wattle Day!

I'm just finishing a PhD on the pollination of these plants, and there are hopes that this work will feed into wider scientific efforts to sustainably revegetate Australia with native plants + provide farmers with alternative industries that are better suited to the country's unique + harsh conditions than the, catastrophically vulnerable, sheep + wheat industries...

It is therefore great to see so much positive work going on in Dalwallinu!