Esperance mallee

Australia

A highly biodiverse ecoregion with one of the highest rates of speciation among native plants anywhere on Earth. The area is characterised by extensive calcareous plains, salt-pans and low ranges of mountains covered in open mallee, dense and diverse heaths and grasslands and coastal marshes.

Esperance

Status

Protection
0 %

Size

102,261 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​

Nil

 

Background – CC Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International – Geoff Derrin, 2015 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported – Terpsichores, 2012

ACT
Help your Ecoregion
So what can you do to help your ecoregion? Below is a list to help you support your ecoregion, while also achieving life's everyday tasks. Don’t underestimate your power in doing good for nature!

Services

Construction: Witchcliffe EcoVillage
Construction: Sustainable Tradies

At Home
Below is a list of actions you can easily take at home to minimise your impact on the ecoregion in which you live, and the rest of the planet too!
In your Garden
Below is a list of native plants and habitat creation tips you can use in your garden or on your property to give your ecoregion and its species a boost!

CANOPY LAYER

Plant dominant trees that are characteristic of this ecoregion such as Sand Mallee (Eucalyptus eremophila). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SUB-CANOPY LAYER

Plant native sub-canopy trees that are small and have interesting growth-forms including Narrow-leaved Mallee (Eucalyptus perangusta), Tallerack (Eucalyptus pleurocarpa) and Moort (Eucalyptus platypus). Swamp Oak (Casuarina obesa), Showy Banksia (Banksia speciosa), Western Grasstree (Xanthorrhoea platyphylla) and Sea Box (Alyxia buxifolia) also give nice shapes. To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SHRUB LAYER

Plant native shrubs like the lovely Small Bottlebrush (Beaufortia micrantha), Plumed Feather-flower (Verticordia plumosa), stunning blue-purple Calytrix leschenaultii, Tetrapora verrucosa and the wattles, Acacia bracteolata, Harrow Wattle (Acacia acanthoclada) and Dolphin Wattle (Acacia delphina). These species are great for creating dense shrubby refugia and provide plenty of nectar for birds and mammals. To create habitat, consider installing insect hotels, compost-heaps and bird-baths in this layer.

GROUND LAYER

Plant an array of whacky endemics to the Esperance mallee region such as Star-like Asteridea (Asteridea asteroides), Spur Velleia (Velleia arguta), Microcorys obovata, Nullabor Gunniopsis (Gunniopsis calcarea), Blue Bush (Halgania anagalloides), Lechenaultia papillata and Red-centred Hibiscus (Alyogyne hakeifolia). For form, try the native Hairy Spinifex (Spinifex hirsutus) near the coast. To create habitat, consider installing a pond or bog-garden with native aquatic and riparian plants, log-piles for sheltering amphibians and reptiles and leave areas of leaf-litter for important insects.

Learn

One of the world’s greatest concentrations of plant biodiversity. This ecoregion boasts over 7,200 species, with around 80% of them found nowhere else on earth. From dazzling orchids to extraordinary banksias and from miniscule saltmarsh plants to literal carpets of verticordias in every colour, it is a naturalist’s paradise here. The fauna is also amazing, with many nectivorous mammals having evolved here alongside the high floral diversity, such as the Honey-possums and Dibblers. The geology is very old and weathered, with large flat alkaline plains dotted with limited mountains such as those of the Stirling Range. The area is popular with visitors who come to enjoy the wildflowers in spring and to explore the remarkable coastline teeming with marine-life.

Ecoregion Structure
The structure of the ecoregion is defined as the key living and non-living features characterising its ecosystems, and the differences between how these ecosystems are arranged. For example, layers of vegetation, geology, habitat features and landscapes.

Geology

Gently undulating plain with numerous salt lakes and dominant soils of alkaline grey deposits that overlie predominantly marine sediments

Climate

Mediterranean

Iconic Landscapes

Native plant communities

Scenes by @blueringmedia
Ecoregion Composition
The composition of the ecoregion is defined as the biodiversity that inhabits its ecosystems, and the differences between this biodiversity. For example, communities, populations, species, subspecies and genetic traits.
Keystone Species​
Keystone species are those that have a disproportionately large effect on the ecosystems in which they live, relative to their natural abundance there. In other words, species with a really important role in the health of ecosystems.
Flagship Species
Flagship species are those that are chosen by people to represent a wider conservation message, usually for a given place or social context, and as such often carry conservation messages for wider biodiversity.
Recently Extinct Species
All around the world, biodiversity is declining at a concerning rate. For some species it's already too late, and they have disappeared from the ecoregions they once called home. These are some examples of those lost species.

Big-eared Hopping-mouse
(Notomys macrotis)

Western Rufous Bristlebird
(Dasyornis litoralis)

Australian Bustard
(Ardeotis australis)

Lord Howe Fantail
(Rhipidura cervina)

Lord Howe Thrush
(Turdus vinitinctus)

Ecoregion Function
The function of the ecoregion is defined as how its structural and compositional components all work together to form ecological relationships and processes which change over time through geological shifts and evolution by natural selection.

Keystone Relationships

Honey-possums are a keystone species as a mammal pollinator of many different species of plants right across the ecoregion. From banksias to grass-trees, this small marsupial is vital for the long-term biodiversity of the Esperance mallee.

Life-support Systems​

Biodiversity is fundamental to a healthy planet and thriving communities, but the world's species are under tremendous threat.