The Minister for Environment released A Biodiversity and Cultural Conservation Strategy for the Great Western Woodlands4.24 MB on 3 November 2010. See the Minister's media statement for more information.
The Great Western Woodlands is an area of great biological richness that extends over 16 million hectares - about the same size as England.
It is regarded as the largest remaining area of intact Mediterranean-climate woodland left on Earth and contains about 3000 species of flowering plants, about a fifth of all known flora in Australia. It includes nearly a quarter of Australia's eucalypt species, many of which grow nowhere else in the world, and its varied habitats are home to a diverse array of mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds. Aboriginal occupation has been dated to at least 22,000 years and the region has great cultural significance, with Aboriginal people retaining strong links with and responsibility for country.
The Great Western Woodlands is also important for the existing and potential economic development of the region, with significant mining and exploration activity, active pastoral leases and timber resources, and is increasingly popular for recreation and tourism.
The strategy for the Great Western Woodlands provides a framework to manage the range of different uses of the woodlands to ensure the long-term protection of its natural and cultural values. The strategy was prepared with the help of a Stakeholder Reference Group that included community-based groups along with industry organisations and local government authorities.