Australia’s world-leading $22 million Bush Blitz species discovery programme will invest $1.2 million to better link discoveries with conservation outcomes.
Parliamentary Secretary Simon Birmingham will announce the funding tonight at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney.
“By investing in the next phase of knowledge through Bush Blitz we are not only discovering new species but also learning more about the challenges they may face,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.
“This knowledge is key to helping us tackle challenges such as biosecurity threats and large scale conservation planning.
“Another important part of Bush Blitz is inspiring the next generation of Aussie scientists – our kids. This investment will help produce engaging and imaginative resources to educate students about the importance of science and how it links to preserving our natural world.”
Bush Blitz is a pioneering partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia.
“Australia is home to around two million plant and animal species but we’ve only discovered a quarter of the species out there. Bush Blitz is helping to fill that knowledge gap,” Senator Birmingham said.
Over the last four years, Bush Blitz has already discovered more than 825 species that are completely new to science.
“Over the next three years we will blitz dozens more areas and I expect there will be many more exciting finds,” Senator Birmingham said.
“In our last blitz at Carnarvon Station Reserve in Queensland, just one of the finds was a new species of peacock spider. Peacock spiders are amazing – the colourful males show off by dancing to find themselves a partner.
“In arid southern Australia Bush Blitz scientists also identified a new species of jumping plant lice – helping agricultural experts to get a jump on a potential biosecurity threat that could have devastated Australia’s eggplant and bush tomato crops. You can see Bush Blitz is a fantastic program with very real outcomes.”
The $1.2 million is part of a $12 million investment the Australian Government and BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities announced in July this year, for the second phase of Bush Blitz. Each party will contribute $6 million to extend the Bush Blitz programme to 2017.
For more information about Bush Blitz visit http://www.bushblitz.org.au/