Conserving biodiversity threatened with extinction or destruction

Lake Richmond
Shrublands on dry clay flats
Photo © Parks and Wildlife

An ecological community is a naturally occurring group of plants, animals and other organisms interacting in a unique habitat. The complex range of interactions between the component species provides an important level of biological diversity in addition to genetics and species.

How are these communities managed?

Because ecosystems and the links between their community members are so complex, it is important to identify, maintain and manage whole ecosystems, their processes and communities (including the many thousands of species of invertebrates, non-flowering plants like fungi and seaweeds, and micro-organisms), rather than just on a species by species basis.

It is also more cost-effective and efficient to prevent species from becoming threatened by conserving them as part of viable, functioning communities than it is to attempt to manage individual species.

What is a threatened ecological community?

The Minister for Environment may list an ecological community as being threatened if the community is presumed to be totally destroyed or at risk of becoming totally destroyed.

The department has been identifying and informally listing threatened ecological communities since 1994. As of May 2014, 376 ecological communities had been entered into the threatened ecological community database.

  • The WA Minister for Environment has endorsed 69 of these:
    • 21 critically endangered
    • 17 endangered
    • 28 vulnerable
    • 3 presumed totally destroyed.
  • 25 of these threatened ecological communities are also listed under the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
  • The remaining 307 are allocated to one of five priority categories.

Ecological communities with insufficient information available to be considered a threatened ecological community, or which are rare but not currently threatened, are placed on the Priority list and referred to as priority ecological communities.

Do threatened ecological communities have Recovery Plans?

The department, with the help of community groups and local people, develops and implements Recovery Plans and Interim Recovery Plans for threatened species and ecological communities.

Further information:

Native beetle enjoying flowers in the Busselton Ironstones threatened ecological community.
Photo © Tim Swallow
  • Monitoring the threatened and priority flora, fauna and ecological communities of Western Australia. 
  • Distributional data searches on threatened ecological communities.
  • Report your observations if you have seen a threatened or priority species or ecological community.
  • Threatened ecological communities posters briefly describe a community and what needs to be done to conserve it.
  • WATSNU newsletter for the latest news on threatened species and ecological communities conservation in Western Australia.
  • Contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Glimpses into disappearing landscapes. Nationally Listed Threatened Ecological Communities of the South West Region.
Download this beautiful booklet, produced by South West Catchment Council, in conjunction with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, which photographically captures eight communities of the south-west region and the importance of protecting them.

Articles in this category:

Title Modified Date
Threatened ecological communities posters Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:31
WA microbialite research Wednesday, 12 March 2014 14:08