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 previously listed ecological communities as threatened through a non-statutory process if the community was presumed to be totally destroyed or at risk of becoming totally destroyed. The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act)provides for the statutory listing of threatened ecological communities (TECs) by the Minister. 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 TECs since 1994 through the non-statutory process.

  • The WA Minister for Environment has endorsed 69 ecological communities as threatened in the following categories:
    • 20 critically endangered
    • 17 endangered
    • 28 vulnerable
    • 4 presumed totally destroyed.
  • 25 of these are listed under the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

As at January 2019, an additional 393 ecological communities (community types and sub-types) 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 occurences are entered into the threatened and priority ecological community database.

Applying for authorisation to modify an occurrence of a threatened ecological community

Under section 45 of the BC Act the Minister may authorise a person to modify an occurrence of a TEC. Under the provisions of the BC Act, significant penalties (up to $500,000) are prescribed under section 48 where a TEC is modified without authorisation.

pdfGuidance note - Modification of an occurrence of a threatened ecological community233.21 KB provides guidance on completing an authorisation under the BC Act to modify an occurrence of a TEC. An application for authorisation to modify a TEC must be submitted using the form docxApplication to the Minister for authorisation under section 45 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016105.25 KB.

Find out more about an authorisation to modify a threatened ecological community.

Threatened ecological community report form

This is one of the main tools for monitoring TECs in Western Australia.

Submitting a threatened ecological community occurrence report form

Send report forms to:

Species and Communities Branch
Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983

or email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Recovery plans and Interim recovery plans for
Western Australian threatened ecological communities

Recovery plans outline the actions that we need to take to help threatened species or ecological communities survive and 'recover' to a healthy level.

The Biodiversity Conservation Act provides for recovery plans to be prepared for the conservation, protection and management for one or more threatened species, or one or more threatened ecological communities, or a combination of threatened species and threatened ecological communities. A recovery plan must provide for research and management actions to stop the decline, and support the recovery, of each threatened species or threatened ecological community to which the plan relates so that its chance of long-term survival in the wild are maximised.

Draft recovery plans and plans proposed for adoption under the Biodiversity Conservation Act will be available for public comment prior to approval of the recovery plan by the Minister for Environment. Approval of recovery plans will be published in the Government Gazette and on the department's website.

Interim recovery plans are preliminary versions of recovery plans that are prepared where full information is not available.

Recovery plans and interim recovery plans are prepared for threatened species and ecological communities on a priority basis, commencing with those ranked for conservation action by the Minister for Environment as ‘Critically Endangered’.

They are developed with a range of stakeholders, with a term of 10 years, but remain in operation until revised. They are modified when changes in knowledge occur. They provide an assessment of the current status, and detailed information and guidance for the management and protection, of threatened ecological communities.

Interim recovery plans are used to manage and protect threatened or harvested species, threatened ecological communities or other species in need of management where a plan is required urgently but where there are insufficient data available to prepare a full recovery plan.

Recovery plans prepared by the department may be adopted by the Australian Government, and are then referred to as national recovery plans.

Further information on recovery plans

pdfAcacia rostellifera low forest with scattered Eucalyptus camaldulensis on Greenough River Alluvial Flats264.09 KB
pdfAquatic root mat communities numbers 1-4 of caves of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge461.52 KB
pdfAquatic root mat communities of caves of the Swan Coastal Plain (Yanchep Caves)1.27 MB
pdfAssemblages of Organic Mound (Tumulus) Springs of the Swan Coastal Plain 511.01 KB
pdfAssemblages of Organic Mound Springs of the Three Springs Area436.92 KB
pdfBanksia attenuata and/or Eucalyptus marginata woodlands of the eastern side of the Swan Coastal Plain501.85 KB
pdfBanksia attenuata woodlands over species rich dense shrublands (SCP20a)1.28 MB
pdfCallitris preissii forests and woodlands959.19 KB
pdfCamerons Cave troglobitic community, Camerons Cave millipede and Camerons Cave pseudoscorpion245.61 KB
pdfCape Range remipede community (Bundera Sinkhole)527.89 KB
pdfClay pans of the Swan Coastal Plain1.38 MB
pdfCorymbia calophylla - Kingia australis woodlands on heavy soils (SCP3a)632.94 KB
pdfCorymbia calophylla - Xanthorrhoea preissii woodlands and shrublands (SCP3c)515.84 KB
pdfFerricrete floristic community (Rocky Springs type)439.67 KB
pdfHeath community on chert hills of the Coomberdale Floristic Region (update)690.68 KB
pdfHerbaceous plant assemblages on bentonite lakes486.11 KB
pdfLesueur-Coomallo floristic community A1.2381.09 KB
pdfLesueur-Coomallo floristic community D1375.8 KB
pdfMelaleuca huegelii – Melaleuca systena shrublands of limestone ridges (SCP26a)435.16 KB
pdfMonsoon vine thickets of the Dampier Peninsula1.12 MB
pdfMontane mallee thicket community of the Stirling Range536.83 KB
pdfMontane thicket of the eastern Stirling Range923.1 KB
pdfPlant assemblages of the Billeranga System630.53 KB
pdfPlant assemblages of the Inering System483.93 KB
pdfPlant assemblages of the Koolanooka System429.79 KB
pdfPlant assemblages of the Moonagin System413.68 KB
pdfScott River ironstone association1.13 MB
pdfSedgelands in holocene dune swales (SCP19)749.59 KB
pdfShrubland Association on Southern Swan Coastal Plain ironstone (Busselton area) (SCP10b)466.29 KB
pdfShrublands and woodlands on Muchea limestone497.7 KB
pdfShrublands and woodlands on Perth to Gingin ironstone358.93 KB
pdfShrublands and woodlands on the eastern side of the Swan Coastal Plain (SCP20c)534.55 KB
pdfStromatolite community of stratified hypersaline coastal lake - Lake Thetis379.02 KB
pdfThrombolite (stromatolite-like microbialite) community of a coastal brackish lake (Lake Clifton)326.03 KB
pdfThrombolite-like microbialite community of coastal freshwater lakes (Lake Richmond)457.83 KB
pdfUnwooded fresh water lakes of the southern Wheatbelt of WA, dominated by Muehlenbeckia horrida subsp. abdita, and Tecticornia verrucosa across the lake floor (Lake Bryde)350.64 KB
Community Name
  • coastalsaltmarshtec dongaraestuary photov english
    Coastal saltmarsh TEC, Dongara estuary.
    Photo – Val English
  • fct20ceasternshrublandswoodlandstalbot photo v english
    Shrublands and woodlands of the eastern side of the Swan Coastal Plain TEC.
    Photo – Val English
  • coolibahflats mtbruce photojillpryde
    Coolibah Flats PEC, Mount Bruce.
    Photo – Jill Pryde

Further information

  • Distributional data searches on TECs or PECs.
  • 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 Thursday, 03 January 2019 12:48
WA microbialite research Wednesday, 31 May 2017 13:07