Notification: Parks and Wildlife Service is part of the new Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

Conserving biodiversity threatened with extinction or destruction

stromatolites pec hamelinbay 2013 v english
Stromatolites PEC Hamelin Bay.
Photo – V English

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 currently list an ecological community as being threatened through a non-statutory process if the community is presumed to be totally destroyed or at risk of becoming totally destroyed. The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 will provide for the statutory listing of threatened ecological communities (TECs) by the Minister when the relevant Parts of the Act are proclaimed following the preparation of enabling Regulations. The new legislation also describes statutory processes for preparing recovery plans for TECs, the registration of their critical habitat, and penalties for unauthorised modification of TECs.

The department has been identifying and listing threatened ecological communities since 1994 through the non-statutory process.

  • The WA Minister for Environment has endorsed 69 ecological communities as threatened in the following categories:
    • 21 critically endangered
    • 17 endangered
    • 28 vulnerable
    • 3 presumed totally destroyed.
  • 31 of these TECs, or components of them, are also listed under the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

As at May 2017, an additional 388 ecological communities with insufficient information available to be considered a TEC, or which are rare but not currently threatened, have been placed on the Priority list and referred to as priority ecological communities (PECs).

TEC and PEC occurances are entered into the threatened and priority ecological community database.

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.

  • pink lake microbial pec sunset photo wendy hudleston
    Pink Lake Microbial PEC sunset.
    Photo – Wendy Hudleston
  • mesaspilbarapec v english
    Mesas Pilbara PEC.
    Photo – V English
  • cliftonmicrobialitetec 2011 venglish
    Clifton Microbialite TEC.
    Photo – V English

Further information

  • Policies on conserving threatened species and ecological communities
  • Distributional data searches on TECs or PECs.
  • 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.
  • 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. A website developed by South West Catchment Council, in conjunction with the Parks and Wildlife, which photographically captures nine communities of the south-west region and the importance of protecting them.

Monitoring protocols

Examples of monitoring protocols for a selection of threatened ecological communities are provided below.

Articles in this category:

Title Modified Date
Threatened ecological communities posters Wednesday, 31 May 2017 13:05
WA microbialite research Wednesday, 31 May 2017 13:07