Tirari-Sturt stony desert


A dry expanse of ancient stony and sandy deserts with low mountain ranges, mesas and ancient valleys. On flat plains, salt lakes exist with a plethora of highly-specialised flora and fauna that have evolved adaptations to survive the harsh climate of this ecoregion.

Tirari-Sturt desert


0 %


376,850 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​



Background – CC Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic – Murray Foubister, 2009 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International – Every-leaf-that-trembles, 2020

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!


Food and Homeware: The Brew


Holidays: Crossroads EcoMotel

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!


Plant small trees like Belah (Casuarina cristata) and Green Mallee (Eucalyptus leptophylla) and if you have room, try mighty River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) for lovely form. To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating hollows in old, dead tree limbs.


Plant native sub-canopy trees and tall shrub wattles including Umbrella Wattle (Acacia ligulata), Wallowa (Acacia calamifolia) and Mallee Golden Wattle (Acacia notabilis). Be sure to prune them heavily after flowering. To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.


Plant native shrubs such as Rough Halgania (Halgania cyanea) and Jockey's Cap (Prostanthera striatiflora) while in salty areas try Bluebush (Chenopodium auricomum). These plants create 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.


Plant clumping natives such as the gorgeous Cotton Bush (Ptilotus obovatus) and Azure Daisy-bush (Olearia rudis) along with native grasses to create dense swards of form and colour. 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.


This large expanse of weather desert pavements and open plains with dunes, is made up of the Sturt Stony Desert, Tirari Desert and the Gawler Ranges to the west. It contains large numbers of hyposaline lakes (salt lakes) and some freshwater systems. Vegetation is dominated by low mallee woodlands, mulga and saltbush plains dominated by plants tolerant of high salinity. Animals in the region have evolved adaptations to live in dry, salty environments including the ability to tolerate saltwater and survive on highly sclerophyllous (spikey) vegetation for food. A number of endemic species including small reptiles and mammals survive in remote areas of this vast and beautiful landscape.

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.


A large area of eroded desert pavement, red sands and flat sandy and stony plains



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.

Red-necked Avocet
(Recurvirostra novaehollandiae)

(Pseudomys australis)

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.

Eastern Hare-wallaby
(Lagorchestes leporides)

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

Brine shrimps worldwide are important keystone species in salt-lake systems. They feed on microscopic algae thus reducing the likelihood of eutrophication (when waterbodies become overwhelmed and toxified with algal growth) and are a favoured food-source of millions of birds.

Life-support Systems​

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