Conservation plan aims to save Australia's only biodiversity hotspot
05 Feb 2009
The Southwest Australia Ecoregion Initiative, led by WWF-Australia and the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation, will today launch the first phase of an Australian Government-funded project that will develop a conservation strategy to preserve Australia's only internationally-listed biodiversity hotspot; a region under significant threat.
The Southwest Australia Ecoregion covers an area larger than Victoria and is home to 6759 species of plants and the highest concentration of rare and endangered species in Australia, including seven mammal species, 13 birds, 34 reptiles and 28 frogs that are found nowhere else in the world.
WWF-Australia, one of a number of groups that forms the Southwest Australia Ecoregion Initiative, has warned that without urgent investment into the conservation of this internationally significant region, Australia is at risk of losing the amazing biodiversity that has put this region on the world map.
"The tragedy is that parts of this region are so badly degraded by human activities that without urgent action we risk losing the amazing biodiversity that exists in our backyard," said WWF's Southwest Australia Regional Program Manager, Cheryl Gole.
"Those areas that do remain relatively intact are still endangered by human-induced threats including climate change, invasive species, land clearing, dryland salinity and environmentally-damaging agricultural practices."
The Australian Government's Caring for our Country program has invested $367,000 to establish a conservation plan that takes in an area that extends in a rough triangle from Shark Bay to Esperance and along a narrow strip of coastline to the South Australian border.
The Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation was a key contributor to the development of the project and provided specialist biodiversity conservation advice. The wheatbelt around...