Department of Parks adn Wildlife

The Pilbara Region Biological Survey was undertaken to gain greater knowledge about the biodiversity of the Pilbara region in Western Australia.

In this survey, our researchers have:

The knowledge gained will provide the regional context necessary to underpin future nature conservation planning and sustainable land-use for the Pilbara.

Why did we need a regional survey?

Little was known about the rich array of plants and animals in the Pilbara. Many of the native species were new to science, and not found anywhere else in the world. The ecosystems, and their ecological processes, were also not well understood. The survey provided information on patterns in the distribution of flora and fauna to help the community make decisions about conservation requirements and the sustainable use of natural resources.

The results of the survey will assist in:

See Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 78 for research papers from this survey by staff from Parks and Wildlife, the Western Australian Museum and other collaborating organisations.
View a list of Pilbara Threatened Fauna on NatureMap
pilbara conservation strategy

Pilbara Conservation Strategy

This strategy provides a framework and direction for landscape-scale conservation initiatives to protect and enhance the biodiversity of the Pilbara while realising its economic potential.

Read more about the Pilbara Conservation Strategy

Over 800 sample sites were surveyed throughout the Pilbara. These sites represented a cross section of the region's soils, landforms and major geological formations, climate and vegetation types.
Sites were located on and within:

The diversity of plant and animal life was recorded at each site. Most sites were sampled twice in different seasons of the year. A variety of methods have been used throughout the survey. These include pitfall traps for mammals, observation using night vision equipment and a radar gun for bats and plankton nets for stygofauna.The field component of the Pilbara Region Biological Survey was conducted over five years between 2002-2007. Due to the large amount of data collected during the survey, the sorting, identifying, analysing and subsequent interpreting of finding has taken another six years. The botanical component of the survey which is dealing with over 80,000 plant specimens is still ongoing.

Pilbara Region Biological Survey maps

There have been six major components in the Pilbara Region Biological Survey:

A large volume of data was collected during the Pilbara Region Biological Survey, which has taken a considerable time to sort, identify, analyse and interpret but for most groups this is now complete. Our results to date include:

Where to next?

Now that surveying is almost completed, the challenge is to collate and analyse the enormous amount of information that has been gathered over the past years. Once this has been done, we aim to present the information and raw data via NatureMap in formats that can be accessed and used by anyone with responsibilities for or an interest in land management in the Pilbara.
The information and specimens collected through the survey will provide researchers at Parks and Wildlife, the Western Australian Museum and other institutions with material to further their investigations for many years to come.


Key outcomes


The Pilbara Region Biological Survey was made possible through assistance from:

A number of external collaborators, staff from the Western Australian Museum and volunteers also assisted with the Pilbara Region Biological Survey. In total more than 130 people have been involved in the survey.

Websites and databases

Previous Pilbara Biodiversity Audits

Contact details

For further information please contact
Dr Stephen van Leeuwen