Barbara Madden, Great Western Woodlands, Botany

Right before I left Perth a few years back, I was struck by a amazingly in-depth feature story run by The West Australian about the conservation efforts being lead in the Great Western Woodlands, an utterly enormous temperate woodland measuring 16 MILLION HECTARES - that’s 160,000 square kilometres.

Great Western Woodland, map
    If I’m doing my math correctly, that’s a forest larger than England.

And 61 per cent of the forest is unallocated Crown land, with no government or private owner responsible for management. This wouldn’t be an issue, if it weren’t for bushfires, the rise of feral animals, feral weed species and the risk of mining’s environmental impact.

The Great Western Woodlands Collaboration wrote:

The Woodlands are home to an amazing variety of native flora
and fauna with 20% of all Australia’s plant species, 20% of
Australia’s eucalypt species, and dozens of rare and threatened
animals such as Chuditch, Malleefowl, Woylies and Redtailed
Phascogales. Australia has the highest rate of mammal
extinctions in the world and, nationally, bird numbers are
declining rapidly - especially woodland birds. The Great
Western Woodlands is one large intact area where we can still
retain a functioning environment with most of its species still
present, or able to be reintroduced.

But to achieve this, Australia first needs to map out the unexplored ecosystem and categorise the known and unknown species that make this enormous woodland their home.

The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) announced on 9 November that the Woodlands would be part of a federal effort to map the ecosystem from a research ‘super site’. This is a brilliant effort to safeguard an incredible part of Western Australia. I’m buzzed to see the photos and hear announcements of new species that this work will inevitably bring.

To access information published by TERN on their findings, click here.

All photography by Barbara Madden.

Barbara Madden, Great Western Woodlands, Botany

  1. vickerytrip posted this
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