Over a little more than a year a wealth of books about the Southwest has been published for a variety of interest and knowledge levels these being: Laurie’s The Southwest: Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspot by (University of Western Australia Press, 2015), Groom and Lamont’s Plant Life of Southwestern Australia. Adaptations for Survival and Plant life on the Sandplains in Southwest Australia. A Global Biodiversity Hotspot edited by Hans Lambers (UWA Press, Crawley 2014. 332 pages).
The Southwest: Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspot by Victoria Laurie is for the most general readership. This book is a beautiful homage and introduction to the Southwest’s wonderful plants and animals. A reader commented to a Wildflower Society member that it was an excellent book to keep at hand and read and enjoy, chapter by chapter while learning about the Southwest.
The other two books are focused on the review of plant species level research and how they survive and proliferate in the Southwest. These books are: Groom and Lamont’s Plant Life of Southwestern Australia and Plant life on the Sandplains in Southwest Australia (Kwongan book). The Kwongan is a vegetation type which occupies about 40% of the land surface of Southwest.
The Kwongan book has contributions from a range of authors who have a detailed knowledge of their topics. The book is an update for Kwongan Plant Life on the Sandplains (1984) produced some 30 years ago and aims to assemble current knowledge on particular topics…identifying gaps or inadequacies in knowledge and future research needs of the sandplain (Kwongan).
The book benefits from contributions from a range of authors but at times the diversity of topics means there is lack of unification of some of the themes. While there is some overlap with Plant Life of Southwestern Australia a number of the topics in Plant life on the Sandplains are only found in this publication these being: origins of the sandplains; mammal digging; detailed reviews of plant species conservation and genetics; fluoroacetate containing plants; honey possums; and human usage.
All three books have originated in Perth and principally by Perth based writers and research workers. For the Wildflower Society this is a cause to celebrate as each book raises the profile, knowledge, and (we trust) the conservation of the state’s wildflowers. Each author and editor has kindly shared their work with Society members through talks at a number of Society organised events, and we trust, will continue to do so. All three books deserve a place in our libraries and we suggest several more could be written on the roles of Fungi and Invertebrates in the Southwest.