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  • Eriogonum tiehmii, metter known as Tiehm’s buckwheat.

    Eriogonum tiehmii, metter known as Tiehm’s buckwheat. | Photo: @adamfederman

Published 17 September 2020
Opinion

The Eriogonum tiehmii inhabits in the slopes of the Silver Peak Range in Nevada, where botanists consider about 42,000 plants remain. However, the last specimens recount revealed that the population is under the conservationists’ estimate.

U.S. Nevada Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Thursday said that 40% of a native flowering plant, the Tiehm’s buckwheat, is lost, and the damage could be worst due to local mining activities.

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The Eriogonum tiehmii inhabits in the slopes of the Silver Peak Range in Nevada, where botanists consider about 42,000 plants remain. However, the last specimens recount revealed that the population is under the conservationists’ estimate.

“We did a field survey of damage, and it was like doing an autopsy on my best friend. It is an unfathomable destruction. It’s the most emotionally devastating thing that’s ever happened in my career,” CBD director Patrick Donnelly said.

Scientists concern about a mine construction project that would jeopardize the plan, which is already under extinction threats. The boron and lithium pit would converge with plant habitat.

California wildlife conservationists alerted over intentionally destruction of the plants, as they found plants ripped and perfect holes on the ground. On their side, the mine investors and supporters claim that the excavation would serve as a clean energy source.

“I would not oppose the mine if it was done in a way that didn’t put the whole species at risk, and was environmentally sound. What is the cost of green energy if it causes the extinction of whole species?” said the director of conservation at the California Botanic Garden, Naomi Fraga.

The experts wrote a letter to the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Nevada Division of Forestry and Ioneer, demanding immediate protection for the native plant.  

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