his book has been produced in response to a perceived need to inform the public of the huge number of weeds that are running rampant in the natural areas of our country.

The idea arose after a series of meetings to try to initiate a State weeds strategy and to tackle the growing problem of 'bushland' weeds: these meetings involved members of a number of societies, including the one with which I have had a long association - the Wildflower Society of Western Australia. Roger Cousens and Jonathan Dodd suggested to the Plant Protection Society that a book was needed to help the public of Western Australia to identify weeds.

 Between them, the writing team of Penny Hussey, Greg Keighery, Roger Cousens, Jonathan Dodd and Sandy Lloyd have an extensive knowledge of both the agricultural and bushland weeds of Western Australia, and combine the perspectives on weeds that exist in the State's conservation and agriculture agencies.

 In the introduction to this book, under the heading 'Why is the Australian flora so special' reasons are given why it is different from the flora of other lands. It is so specially adapted for survival in its own place and yet is easily interfered with - even displaced - by being crowded by plants from elsewhere in the world. There is a progression in the establishment of weeds throughout Australia which will have long term consequences of a dire nature for the Australian flora and the fauna it supports. In the main, imported plants do not support native fauna and are therefore useless to Australia's natural ecosystems.

 Many of the plants that are dear to us in our gardens have become weedy and are invading the bush. Such plants can move over long distances - 'have seeds, will travel' - by car and truck, and by birds and other animals. We need to harden our hearts against these plants and think of all the other beautiful plants we can grow instead.

 There appears to be little understanding in the minds of the general public of the number and distribution of weeds that are threatening the diversity of native plants and animals. I believe that this most excellent book will serve to bring home the extent of the weed invasion and alert the public to the need to undertake measures to control it.

 I am sure this book will be a milestone in the understanding of the public of Western Australia, by describing the extent of the weed menace and by helping people to identify many of the weeds that are spreading across our country.

Finally, I acknowledge the vital role of this book's major sponsor, the Gordon Reid Foundation for Conservation, for their generous funding and for continuing to back this important project.



Joanna Seabrook

(Chair, Environmental Weeds Action Network)

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