image
IMAGE: Spotted sun-orchid (Thelymitra ixioides) flowering at Peter Murrell Nature Reserve. Photo credit: Nuytsia

Professor Ian Lunt, Vegetation Ecologist at the Charles Sturt University in NSW, has been called Australia’s version of Sherlock Holmes for the way he is able to piece together information from a variety of sources to solve ecological mysteries, such as trying to unlock the reasons why different habitats look the way they do, and what factors could be at play. Professor Lunt has also inspired an eager following on his informative and entertaining blog.

“We are delighted that Professor Lunt has accepted our invitation to present the keynote address at the 10th Australasian Plant Conservation Conference being held at the Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel in Hobart this November” said Dr David Coates, President of the Australian Network for Plant Conservation (ANPC), who are co-hosting the conference with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG). “Prof Lunt and his colleagues have been studying ecological restoration and management, and historical changes to the native grasslands and grassy woodlands of south-eastern Australia for many years, and he has been terrific in promoting the importance of science communication and community engagement”.

“The theme for this year’s conference is Sustaining Plant Diversity – Adapting to a Changing World” Dr Coates added. “We are not only looking at the practical approaches to sustaining our plant biodiversity, especially in regards to climate change, but also discussing how all the ecological components, including animals, fit into the bigger picture, and how conservationists can engage and inform a broader audience.”

The ANPC is a national non-profit, non-government organisation which aims to promote and develop plant conservation. With members in Australia and New Zealand including botanists, ecologists, conservation biologists, research scientists, and land managers from a wide range of organisations and backgrounds, the ANPC promotes collaboration and the exchange of information, knowledge and skills through publications, workshops, conferences and social media.

Hobart hosted the first Australasian Plant Conservation Conference in 1993 as part of the celebrations marking the 175th Anniversary of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, and the conferences have been held bi-annually ever since. This year the conference organisers are hoping to engage not only plant conservationists but also the broader Tasmanian community by holding a free public lecture on the 13th November at the Baha’i Centre of Learning. One exciting field trip on offer for conference delegates is to join Threatened Plants Tasmania Wildcare Inc (TPT) volunteers to learn about the Threatened Orchid Project and discover many of Tasmania’s native orchids at the Peter Murrell Nature Reserve near Hobart.

Conference registrations are now open and more information can be found at http://www. anpc.asn.au/conferences/2014/. Prof Lunt’s blog can be found at http://ianluntecology.com/