Prescribed Burns in WA Threaten Rare Orchids, Scientists Call for Policy Change


Summary: Scientists are urging the Western Australia government to review their prescribed burns policies to protect rare orchids in the state’s south, as 51 Australian orchids face the threat of extinction. Controlled burns conducted as part of fire prevention policies are believed to be contributing to the decline of these native orchids, which have specific requirements and are already facing other threats such as weeds and land clearing.

Scientists are calling for a review of prescribed burning in Western Australia, as 51 Australian orchids are facing the threat of extinction. The Western Australia government’s controlled burns policies, aimed at reducing the risk of bushfires, are believed to be endangering rare orchids in the state’s south. Orchids have specific requirements and are already facing threats such as weeds and land clearing. Controlled burns conducted during winter and spring, when many orchids flower, interfere with their vegetation cycle and ability to set seeds. Environmental experts recommend smaller scale and more focused burns to protect threatened orchids. The Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority has called for an independent review of prescribed burns in its proposed Forest Management Plan, citing evidence that burns increase fuel loads and harm threatened species. However, the government argues that prescribed burns are necessary for preventing large bushfires.

Tags: prescribed burns, orchids, extinction crisis, Western Australia, fire prevention, environmental protection