Why Do Extinctions Matter? Mourning the Loss of Indigenous Flora in the Southwest of Western Australia

Document Type

Journal Article


University of Sydney


Education and Arts


Communications and Arts, Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications




Originally published as: Ryan, J. C. (2009). Why Do Extinctions Matter?. Mourning the loss of indigenous flora in the Southwest of Western Australia. Philament, 15, 51-80. Original article available here


The expansion of human populations and the demands of technological growth have placed global pressures on wild communities of organisms. Accelerating declines in habitat and the pollution of air and water have led to an extinction crisis unprecedented in the history of three billion years of life on Earth.1 Biodiversity ‘hotspots’ such as the Southwest corner of Western Australia are particularly susceptible to the kinds of pressures and transformations ecological systems are undergoing worldwide. The diverse and unique flora of this corner of Australia provides a poignant study of the pandemic of biological extinction. Public awareness and scientific recognition of indigenous flora in the Southwest offer the possibilities of conserving plants, alleviating the pressures leading to their disappearance and enhancing opportunities for human engagement with more‐than‐human life.

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Philament is a peer-reviewed, open access, online journal of postgraduate and early-career-academic scholarship in literature, cultural studies, and the arts.


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