BOTANICAL MISSION IN AUSTRAL ISLANDS DISCOVERS ELEVEN NEW PLANTS

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PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (May 22, 2002 – Tahitipresse)---Four American scientists discovered 11 new endemic plants during a complete survey of Rapa, a remote French Polynesian island located more than 940 miles south of Tahiti.

During their stay on the island, from March 13th to May 15th, they also found two species that had not been seen since the 1930's.

All the plants were located in the mountains and cliffs of the island.

According to representatives of the scientific mission, funded by the National Geographic Society, goats and fires threaten the future of the plants.

The scientists said goats should be removed entirely from a small islet where very rare species of sandalwood still can be found.

Samples of all the plants found will be made available to the botanical department of the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands.

Dr. Timothy Motley, from the New York Botanical Garden, who has made several scientific research trips to French Polynesia, led the Rapa scientific mission.

He teamed up for this mission with Ronald Fenstemacher, from the Hawaiian Botanical Society, and Kenneth Wood and Steven Perlman, from the National Tropical Botanical Garden (Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i).

Kenneth Wood and Steven Perlman specialize in scientific research on difficult ground, such as cliffs and mountains.

The four Americans were assisted by Jean-Yves Meyer, a botanist established in French Polynesia for several years.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse.

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