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Curtin study to save plants and culture of Bali

Media release

Curtin University of Technology is working on a major project, in collaboration with Indonesian partners, to preserve the diversity of plant life in Bali.

School of Social Sciences and Asian Languages senior lecturer Dr Ian Chalmers said Curtin had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Udayana University in Denpasar.

“This is the first step towards undertaking an action-research project aimed at preserving the island’s flora,” Dr Chalmers said.

“The project will focus on plants of special cultural significance.

“Over 90 per cent of the population of Bali is Hindu and they have traditionally used a range of exotic plants, flowers and fruits as part of their ceremonies.

“However, Curtin Indonesian Studies student Chris Brown has found that the once abundant supply of flora used for these traditional ceremonies is rapidly dwindling.

“This is mainly due to the competing demands of population growth, agriculture and land degradation.

“We have a list of more than 60 plants that need to be saved – including more than 25 critically endangered species – including local species of banana and coconut.

“Initially the plants will be coded to establish the botanical region that they come from, then we will locate sites for regeneration and grow supplies for the local rituals.”

The project will involve other areas at Curtin including the Australian Sustainable Diversity Institute (ASDI), and Muresk Institute.

Contact: Dr Ian Chalmers, Curtin School of Social Sciences and Asian Languages, 9266 7081,