A three-year action plan to recover 105 species of critically endangered plants across Western Australia’s south-west has significantly improved their conservation outlook.
The $1.6 million plant recovery project has seen nearly 12 kilometres of fencing built to protect 29 critically endangered species from grazing by feral animals, more than 17,000 hectares baited for rabbits, populations of 28 species moved into threat-free areas and the successful control of Phytophthora dieback for 22 susceptible species.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife conducted the Natural Resource Management Program (NRM) funded project with the support of local community groups and volunteers.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said a targeted approach to controlling the major threats of invasive weeds, grazing and trampling by feral animals, Phytophthora dieback disease, and the development of fire management protocols, had benefited many species.
“This has been a highly successful Department of Parks and Wildlife project that has shown how strategically managing key threats can reduce their impact and reverse the decline in endangered plant populations,” Mr Jacob said.
“In one project, it was found native quokkas rather than rabbits were eating the rare plants of a threatened ecological community on the upper slopes of Bluff Knoll, in the Stirling Range National Park.
“Researchers excluded the quokkas and rabbits from the area with fencing and after two years, several critically endangered species have shown significant growth and increased flowering.”
Agriculture and Food Minister Dean Nalder said the funding had allowed the Liberal National Government to build on its previous achievements by investing in the protection of Western Australia’s natural resources.
“Significant NRM outcomes have been achieved since the program began in 2009 and I am pleased the program continues to support vital work across the State,” Mr Nalder said.