Great Western Woodland

East of the famous Rabbit Proof Fence is 16 million hectares (40 million acres) of relatively intact bush. This rich tapestry of woodlands, mallees and shrublands connects Australia’s south-western corner to its inland deserts. It is a land of granite rock islands, of shrubby plains, of mallee and red dirt, ironstone ridges and tall open woodlands. These are so vast that ancient hydrological patterns still operate – a place where clouds gather in response to the vegetation beneath.

Nowhere else does such a variety of large trees grow where water is so scarce and the soil so depleted of nutrients.

The Great Western Woodlands (GWW) is home to more than 20% of all Australia’s known plant species and remains a unique haven for a community of animal species that are now threatened elsewhere in Australia. One of these is the birds typically found in temperate woodlands. As a direct result of habitat destruction and fragmentation, woodland bird communities have been in decline in many parts of Australia, but they can still be found in the Great Western Woodlands. This has implications for the management of woodlands across Australia, as it provides an opportunity to better understand the functioning of intact temperate woodland bird communities.

Although the Great Western Woodlands remains a largely intact ecosystem predominantly located on native title and public lands, only small portions of the area are currently under protection. Today, despite its rich biological and cultural values, this wilderness is threatened by poor fire management, feral animals, weed encroachment, and human activities including careless road construction and mining. Yet the region also represents a part of the country where conservation opportunities still exist at an enormous scale.

Our vision

Recognition, protection and integrated management for one of Australia’s great natural areas through the involvement of local communities for the benefit of people, nature and future generations.

A number of organisations are working with the communities and stakeholders of the Woodlands to have this area protected, managed and promoted in a way that:

  • Recognises and manages the area as a single entity (or landscape), not as fragmented, separate parts
  • Provides substantial financial & human resources for ongoing management
  • Supports ongoing, well managed, economic and recreational land uses
  • Ensures the rights of Traditional Owners are respected, and they are enabled to have a high level of leadership in the ownership, management and protection of the areas culture and natural heritage
  • Highlights the area’s status as a very special, diverse and beautiful Australian landscape
    Maximises local community leadership and involvement

How can we achieve this?

  • Through the development of regional management arrangements involving all participating stakeholders and underpinned by strong, positive, long term working relationships.
  • Through a Government commitment to statutory recognition, protection and management of the outstanding values of the Great Western Woodlands.
  • Through the development of comprehensive management plans which provide the scientific and cultural basis for future management and sets out a range of land use zones which provide ‘security of purpose’ for their intertwined cultural and conservation values.

More on the Great Western Woodlands:

Culture and Heritage
Research and Reports
Stop and rethink the fence


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