Pilbara shrublands

Australia

An unusually diverse semi-arid ecoregion renowned for open tussock grasslands, dry shrublands and unique underground aquifers.

Pilbara

Status

Protection
0 %

Status

Size

177,693 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​

Nil

 

Background – Public Domain – Barry T Coles, 2007 / 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 this region like Snappy Gum (Eucalyptus leucophloia), Western Coolibah (Eucalyptus victrix) and River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) if you have space. 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 and tall shrubs with nectar-rich flowers such as Silver Cajuput (Melaleuca argentea) and Saltwater Paperbark (Melaleuca alsophila) as well as Bramble Wattle (Acacia victoriae) and Grevillea pyramidalis. To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SHRUB LAYER

Plant native shrubs such as Melaleuca linophylla, Wilcox Bush (Eremophila forrestii), Tall Saltbush (Rhagodia eremaea), Senna hamersleyensis and Wickham's Grevillea (Grevillea wickhamii). To create habitat, consider installing insect hotels, compost-heaps and bird-baths in this layer.

GROUND LAYER

Plant tufts of cottage-garden style herbs and grasses like Sturt's Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa), Cotton Bush (Ptilotus obovatus), Silver Sida (Sida fibulifera), Felty Bluebush (Maireana tomentosa) and tufts of the grasses Triodia wiseana, Woollybutt Grass (Eragrostis eriopoda) and Northern Wandarrie Grass (Eriachne obtusa). 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 Pilbara shrublands are a very diverse semi-desert area of northern Australia. Wildlife is diverse with many endemic species including rare grasses, fan-palms, heaths, reptiles, rock-wallabies, toadlets and damselflies. Sadly however, many of the ecoregion’s once-varied mammal fauna have now become extinct in the region, but many survive elsewhere in isolated pockets. The region’s ancient iron-rich carbonate sediments and igneous deposits make the region very attractive for mine prospecting. A hotspot of activity for iron-ore, lithium and rare metals, the area surprisingly retains much of its original form and condition, although only a small percentage of this is formally protected.

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

Ancient volcanic and sedimentary crusts and plains

Climate

Semi-arid

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.

Silver Cajuput
(Melaleuca argentea)

Nankeen Kestrel
(Falco cenchroides)

Pilbara Death Adder
(Acanthophis wellsi)

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.

Rothschild's Rock-wallaby
(Petrogale rothschildi)

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.

Desert Rat-kangaroo
(Caloprymnus campestris)

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

Death adders in Australia are ambush predators. When hungry, they bury themselves in the substrate and wave their tail as a lure to catch passing geckos, small mammals and frogs.

Life-support Systems​

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