Neville Walsh is Senior Conservation Botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. His work involves both plant identification and classification, and, conservation. Neville's roles include naming and describing new plant species and investigating how rare species can be conserved.
Protection from city expansion is difficult – the need for land and the keenness for developers to make a profit are hard to resist, but some years ago, the state government introduced a policy of ‘net gain’ which, in theory at least, intended that there should be no loss of quality native vegetation through land clearance, and any clearance that was seen to be inevitable had to be offset by the reservation of similar vegetation on another site. This works to an extent, but the very rare plant communities, like grasslands, there’s just not enough area to be reserved to fill the need for...