South-west Australia savanna

Australia

A highly-modified ecoregion of savanna dotted with eucalypt woodland, mallee and heath, now mostly transformed in the Western Australian wheatbelt.

South-west Australia savanna

Status

Protection
0 %

Status

Size

177,008 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​

Nil

 

Background – CC Attribution 2.0 Generic – Bryn Pinzgauer, 2014 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International – Every-leaf-that-trembles, 2021

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: Perth Organics
Food and Homeware: The Good Grocer

Services

Holidays: Eco Abrolhos Cruises

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 a range of locally-native feature trees like York Gum (Eucalyptus loxophleba), Marri (Corymbia calophylla), Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) and Salmon Gum (Eucalyptus salmonophloia) 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 like Gimlet (Eucalyptus salubris), the bright-yellow Illyarrie (Eucalyptus erythrocorys), the stunning Rose Mallee (Eucalyptus rhodantha), Chenille Honey-myrtle (Melaleuca huegelii) and Coral Gum (Eucalyptus torquata). 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 the famous Geraldton Wax (Chamaelaucium uncinatum), Olive-leaved Grevillea (Grevillea olivacea), Acacia ericifolia, Coast Angianthus (Angianthus cunninghamii), Climbing Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus divaricatus), One-sided Bottlebrush (Calothamnus quadrifidus), Diplopeltis huegelii and Large-flowered Guichenotia (Guichenotia macrantha). For a climbing plant with unrivalled beauty, try the Chapman River Climber (Marianthus ringens). 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 colourful natives that bring in the pollinators, like Wreath Leschenaultia (Lechenaultia macrantha), Chrysantha (Verticordia chrysanthella), Red-and-green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii), Tall Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus nobilis) and Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata). To create habitat, consider installing a pond or bog-garden with native aquatic and riparian plants like Knotted Club Rush (Ficinia nodosa), Spiny Flat-sedge (Cyperus gymnocaulos) and Feather Spear-grass (Stipa elegantissima), log-piles for sheltering amphibians and reptiles and leave areas of leaf-litter for important insects.

Learn

The south-west savannas are a transition zone between the arid center of Australia and the long-isolated biodiversity hotspot of southwest Australia. Much of this ecoregion has been converted through colonisation into a monoculture of arable farmland; primarily for the production of wheat. The so-called Avon or Western Australian wheatbelt is a highly-productive area of agriculture, with a few fragments of remnant vegetation and protected areas scattered throughout. The area has a rich flora with over 6,500 described species, many of which have tightly-coupled relationships with native fauna. Relationships like bird-pollinated red-flowering kangaroo-paws and dwarf banksias pollinated by possums are common and show the long evolutionary history of this biologically and geologically unique place.

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 palaeo-drainage systems with discontinuous chains of salt lakes and mostly weathered clay or clayey-sand deposits

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.

Western Underground Orchid
(Rhizanthella gardneri)

Rose Mallee
(Eucalyptus rhodantha)

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 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

Woylies are fungi-loving marsupials. Woylies make many diggings in search of fungi, and these diggings help water seep into the ground and move nutrients in the soil. Fungal spores survive being eaten and are then dispersed around the forest in their droppings.

Life-support Systems​

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