Australian Rangeland Society

Blair Parsons and Barry Heydenrych, Greening Australia. Email: bparsons@greeningaustralia.org.aubheydenrych@greeningaustralia.org.au

As part of an ongoing Conservation Action Planning process to ensure the long-term health of the diverse Pilbara region of Western Australia, Greening Australia has released a new report to guide on-ground action.

The Conservation Action Planning (CAP) process seeks to provide a framework for planning and implementing projects across the Pilbara in a coordinated manner, based on agreed priorities and targets.

The report contains a refined set of conservation assets and highlights opportunities for landscape-scale collaboration and partnerships to achieve lasting biodiversity outcomes. The 60 draft strategies identified early in the CAP process have since been refined to 18 strategies, together with a list for immediate action.

These include improving the status of wildlife such as the Greater Bilby and Northern Quoll, reducing the threat of feral predators, weeds and inappropriate fires (see Figure 1), and building the capacity of people involved with on-ground work.

Figure 1.  Fire frequency in the Pilbara bioregion from 2006 -2017 (NAFI, 2017)

The report also showcases the significant conservation projects already underway in the Pilbara through a selection of illustrative case studies. These provide examples of predominantly community led initiatives that are working well and can be used as models for future on-ground actions.

One example is the Rangelands Rehydration Works on stations in the De Grey catchment.  Rangelands rehydration is a term being used to describe both addressing soil erosion and management of surface water to build and retain soil moisture and healthy landscapes.  The key principles of rangelands rehydration are slowing rainfall runoff, increasing water infiltration into soil, increasing groundcover plant density/regrowth, and restoring natural water movement patterns.

We hope that the CAP will assist in getting best bang for our conservation buck in a vast landscape where remarkable natural assets are facing sustained pressure from a range of threats.

Photo 1.  Riverine habitat: an important and highly productive conservation asset

The report was prepared as part of Pilbara Corridors, a partnership formed between Greening AustraliaRangelands NRM and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to address biodiversity threats in the Pilbara. The initiative is funded by the Australian Government.  The summary report can be accessed here.

For further queries please contact Blair at bparsons@greeningaustralia.org.au or Barry at bheydenrych@greeningaustralia.org.au