Southwestern Australia Forests and Scrub

About the Area

Like Chilean matorral, South African fynbos, or Californian chaparral, habitats in southwestern Australia enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with mild temperatures, winter rain, and summer drought.

Combined with well-drained, generally sandy soils, these conditions give rise to rare plant and animal communities. More than 5,500 species of plants have adapted to the Southwestern Australia Forests and Scrub ecoregion, with nearly 70 percent being endemic.

Local Species

Characteristic tree species include Bushy yate (Eucalyptus lehmannii), Jarrah (E. marginata), red flowered Mallee (E. erythronema), and many others. Other plant species include Albany pitcher plant (Cephalotus follicularis), Blue china orchid (Caladenia gemmata), and many-flowered Fringed lily (Thysanotus multiflorus).

Red-winged wren (Malurus elegans), splendid Fairywren (M. splendens), singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens), and the endemic Noisy scrub bird (Atrichornis clamosus) are just a few of the birds in this ecoregion.

Also found here is the many-eyed Gecko (Diplodactylus polyophthalmus), Keel-scaled skink (Ergernia pulchra), purple Blind snake (Ramphotyphlops leptosoma), slender Treefrog (Litoria adelaidensis), Swamp burrowing frog (Heleioporus inornatus), and Nicholls' toadlet (Metacrinia nichollsi).

Mammals with restricted ranges include Ningaui yvonnae and Banded hare-wallaby (Lagostrophus fasciatus), plus a number of other species with wider distributions such as the Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus), Red-tailed phascogale (Phascogale calura), and Honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus).

Threats
Unsustainable logging, expansion of agricultural clearing, overgrazing, weeds and feral animals, burning and altered fire regimes, urban development, introduced plant species and diseases (Phytophthora fungus) are major threats.

Resources
Size:
493,000 sq. km (190,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub

Geographic Location:
Southwestern Australia

Conservation Status:
Critical/Endangered

Quiz Time!

How does the fertility of Australian soils contribute to the longevity of plant species?

Answer:
Australia has the least fertile soils of any continent on Earth. Most plants have developed long-lived leaves because of a lack of nutrients.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.