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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #395643

Research Project: Restoration and Conservation of Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Perth’s globally unique Banksia Woodlands, a threatened ecological community in review

item Svejcar, Lauren
item RITCHIE, ALISON - University Of Western Australia

Submitted to: Australian Flora Foundation Newsletter
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2022
Publication Date: 7/15/2022
Citation: Svejcar, L.N., Ritchie, A.L. 2022. Perth’s globally unique Banksia Woodlands, a threatened ecological community in review. Australian Flora Foundation Newsletter. 36.

Interpretive Summary: Urban expansion is a risk to biodiversity at a global scale, with cities all over the world facing challenges of balancing urban growth and conservation. The expansion of the Perth metropolitan area in Western Australia and the conservation of Banksia Woodlands within which Perth exists is a prime example of this challenge. In this review, we present a case study of advances in science for a threatened ecological community, and provide research priorities and future directions that will advance conservation and management of this ecosystem.

Technical Abstract: The rapid expansion of urban areas worldwide is leading to native habitat loss and ecosystem fragmentation and degradation. Although the study of urbanisation’s impact on biodiversity is gaining increasing interest globally, there is still a disconnect between research recommendations and urbanisation strategies. Expansion of the Perth metropolitan area on the Swan Coastal Plain in south-western Australia, one of the world’s thirty-six biodiversity hotspots, continues to affect the Banksia Woodlands (BWs) ecosystem, a federally listed Threatened Ecological Community (TEC). Here, we utilise the framework of a 1989 review of the state of knowledge of BWs ecology and conservation to examine scientific advances made in understanding the composition, processes and functions of BWs and BWs species over the last 30 years. We highlight key advances in our understanding of the ecological function and role of mechanisms in BWs that are critical to the management of this ecosystem. The most encouraging change since 1989 is the integration of research between historically disparate ecological disciplines. We outline remaining ecological knowledge gaps and identify key research priorities to improve conservation efforts for this TEC. We promote a holistic consideration of BWs with our review providing a comprehensive document that researchers, planners and managers may reference. To effectively conserve ecosystems threatened by urban expansion, a range of stakeholders must be involved in the development and implementation of best practices to conserve and maintain both biodiversity and human wellbeing.