Nullarbor Plains xeric shrublands

Australia

A large, flat plain of treeless shrublands dominated by bluebush, saltbush and various native grasses.

Nullarbor

Status

Protection
0 %

Status

Size

197,195 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​

Nil

 

Background – Public Domain – Heiko Volland, 2005 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported – Hesperian, 2007

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!

PRODUCTS

Food and Homeware: Good Riddance

Services

Employment Services: Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation

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 larger shade trees found in the west of the region like Gimlet (Eucalyptus salubris). 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 like the short Yalata Mallee (Eucalyptus yalatensis). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SHRUB LAYER

Plant native shrubs that are hardy to desert conditions like the Desert Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) and stout Grevillea phillipsiana. To create habitat, consider installing insect hotels, compost-heaps and bird-baths in this layer.

GROUND LAYER

Plant tufts of feature grasses like Porcupine Grass (Triodia scariosa) and important moisture-bearing groundcovers like Ruby Saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa), Bladder Saltbush (Atriplex versicaria) and Pearl Bluebush (Maireana sedifolia). 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

The Nullarbor Plains are synonymous with Australia’s most wild and desolate country. But they’re not as empty as many would have you think. The dry, desert climate of this ecoregion does filter out much of the biodiversity to just the toughest and most resilient species. However, underneath the plains, a relatively recently-discovered wonderland of limestone cave systems and ruptures in the ancient uplifted seabed that makes up the Nullarbor, boast unique life. Above-ground too, species like Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, Red Kangaroos and the Nullarbor Quail-thrush are characteristic of the area. Much of the plains remain intact with about one third being converted to sheep pasture. The coastline of this ecoregion, known as the Great Australian Bight is a remarkable and beautiful landscape sheltering remnant populations of rare coastal species and holding great Indigenous cultural significance.

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

An ancient, shallow, uplifted seabed (now plain) composed largely of limestone

Climate

Desert

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.

Hill's Emu-bush
(Eremophila hillii)

White-winged Fairy-wren
(Malurus leucopterus)

Nullarbor Trapdoor Spider
(Troglodiplura lowryi)

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.

Nullarbor Dwarf Bettong
(Bettongia pusilla)

Nullarbor Barred Bandicoot
(Perameles papillon)

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

Australian Sea-lions are keystone species in coastal waters of the Nullarbor Plains. They are important predators of many marine fish, crustaceans and molluscs and keep coastal waters and beaches in balance here.

Life-support Systems​

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