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Monitoring biodiversity in jarrah forests

  • Forests and woodlands are important habitats that support much of the biodiversity of south-west Western Australia.
  • They are also widely used for recreation, and create social well-being.
  • Some areas are an important source of forest products such as timber and minerals.

Managing our forests and woodlands—whether for nature conservation, recreation, timber production or mineral extraction—has an impact on the ecology, influencing the plants and animals living there.

Monitoring these impacts provides us with valuable information about their effects on forest biodiversity. This information allows us to make decisions that ensure our forests survive and thrive into the future.

jarrah forest
Jarrah forest - Photo © Parks and Wildlife

What we do

  • FORESTCHECK is an integrated monitoring project, designed to provide information to forest managers about changes and trends in biodiversity associated with forest activities.
  • FORESTCHECK samples a wide range of organisms at multiple sites across the jarrah forest.
  • FORESTCHECK was developed with input from scientists and managers within the Department of Parks and Wildlife, and from universities and other government agencies. Monitoring began in 2002.
  • The project stems from state, national and international obligations to ensure that our forests and woodlands are managed in an ecologically sustainable manner.
    FORESTCHECK data has been used:


  • makes a significant contribution to forest science
  • informs forest managers on changes and trends in key elements of forest biodiversity
  • provides a framework for meaningful public participation in forest management
  • provides relevant information to allow the department to comply with reporting requirements associated with sustainable forest management
  • contributes to global-scale studies on impacts on biodiversity.
  • FORESTCHECK currently focuses on timber harvesting and silvicultural treatments in jarrah forests in south-west Western Australia.
    In the future, FORESTCHECK may be extended to monitor the impact of other forest activities including:
    • fire (prescribed and bushfire)
    • climate change
    • mining
    • utility corridors (roads, power transmission lines)
    • recreational use.
    Coral vine - Photo © Parks and Wildlife

    Why is FORESTCHECK special?

    • FORESTCHECK collects data from all groups of organisms from the same point in time and space using standardised collection methods.
    • This integrated approach allows for more accurate studies on the interactions between organisms and the effects of management activities on biodiversity as a whole.
    • FORESTCHECK monitors total species richness, abundance and composition of all monitored organisms. This differs from other monitoring projects that tend to focus on individual species and community groups.

    In addition, FORESTCHECK:

    • is a synchronised monitoring project that enables valid comparisons from year to year between organisms and the attributes measured.
    • can operate without having to make assumptions about the varying environmental and climatic conditions recorded in separate studies with smaller criteria.
    • allows for a large proportion of biodiversity to be monitored (including the 'forgotten elements' such as fungi and lichens).
    • uses a single database to record forest attributes, climatic factors, management history (timber harvesting, prescribed fire) and fire history. This allows for a more integrated approach to monitoring.