Talks from UBC 2014 AGM now available
The presentations by Greg Keighery and Val English from DPaW at the 2014 UBC AGM on the topic of "Our Precious Banksia Woodlands" are now available from the UBC website.
The talks covered the distribution and diversity of Banksia woodlands from general structural maps to floristic variation, and then lead into discussion of Threatened Ecological Communities (TECs) and possible EPBC listing for Banksia woodlands.
Our Banksia Woodlands video
Hosted by internationally renowned Perth botanists Bronwen and Greg Keighery. Let Bronwen and Greg take you through the wonderland that is Perth's bushland treasure. See the video here:
Banksia Woodlands nominated as a TEC
The Urban Bushland Council and the Wildflower Society of WA have nominated Perth's Banksia woodlands as a Threatened Ecological Community under the Federal Government's Environment Protection and Biodiverstity Conservation Act.
The area of this nomination includes the Perth Metro Region and the Peel Region where most of the population of WA lives. Whilst there are some larger patches of intact Banksia Woodland, there are many smaller intact patches as well as remnants of Banksia menziesii and B attenuata overstorey scattered across the suburbs forming regionally and locally significant ecological linkages.
These linkages are under increasing threat from urban development and urban infill, largely due to the lack of appreciation and understanding of their ecological significance. This is combined with the lack of formal legally binding recognition that such linkages are valuable ecologically and need to be retained. The sustainability of the biodiversity of these species rich Woodlands is now critically dependant on the maintenance of these linkages. They are essential as wildlife corridors and act as refugia for recolonisation after catastrophic events such as fire and hail storms.
Perth and the Peel Regions are growing steadily as a result of the mining boom and urban infill is actively promoted by the State Government. This provides a major threat to unprotected ecological linkages as small patches are cleared little by little. As a result the health and inherent species of the Woodlands is under threat.
Our Banksia Heritage
Perth is the only city in the world set in a natural landscape dominated by Banksia woodlands. Whilst the landscape relief and tree profile is subtle, these woodland communities are highly biodiverse, especially in understorey and herb layer. Indeed the Perth region is a hotspot of plant species diversity within the globally recognised south-west biodiversity hotspot for conservation priority. It is under threat. Yet Perth's Banksia woodlands are so little known and appreciated.
Banksia as a genus is an ancient West Australian. Banksia woodlands, including the dominant trees of the woodland define the Perth Metropolitan area. The genus Banksia is part of the great Southern Hemisphere family of plants, the Proteaceae, named after the Greek god Proteus (many forms). Worldwide there are 80 genera and approximately 1,770 species, of which Australia has 46 genera (57.5% of total) and approximately 1,100 species (61.7% of total). Of the 46 genera, 80.4% are confined to Australia as are 1,088 (99.5%) of the species. The Proteaceae is the third largest family in Australia after the Peas and the Myrtles.
In Western Australia there are 17 genera (21% of the world, 37% of Australia) and 740 species (41.7% of the world, 67.6% of Australia). Banksia (without including Dryandra) has 80 species, of which 63 are only found in south-west Western Australia (SWWA).
Around Perth on the Swan Coastal Plain there are only seven common trees. Three are eucalypts (Tuart, Jarrah and Marri), three are Banksias (B. attenuata, B. grandis and B. menziesii) and one is the sheoak Allocasuarina fraseriana. Three of these, the Tuart and the two Banksia species (B. attenuata and B. menziesii) are the characteristic trees of Perth.
Banksia woodlands are highly important, diverse, species-rich environments. They have declined substantially and face serious threat. There is an urgent need to understand the diversity, venerability and vulnerability of Banksia woodlands and their remarkable biota. There is also a need to achieve substantial change in policy and management if we are to make a difference to Banksia woodland conservation and management.
There will need to be additional efforts in intervention and monitoring if we are to be effective in the conservation and on-going management of Banksia woodlands. However, it is essential to consider the conservation of Banksia woodlands within a broader global conservation agenda. Anthropogenic climate change now urges such a conservation agenda. The alternative would render continued efforts irrelevant in Banksia woodland conservation.
Perth Banksia Woodlands Symposium
The Urban Bushland Council organised a Banksia Woodlands Symposium in March 2011. Sponsored by Lotterywest, more than 150 people attended the event - all levels of Government, industry, nature conservation groups and the general public.
Speakers discussed the evolutionary history of the Banksia genus and ecophysiology of groundwater use by Banksias and the understory plants of the woodlands. Studies of the fungi and the vertebrate and invertebrate fauna found in Banksia woodlands were also presented along with management issues such as climate change, fragmentation of the bushland and invasive plants.
The speakers notes have been compiled into proceedings of the symposium which covers Perth's Bansia woodland, its flora, fauna and fungi ecosystem, its threats and aspects of management.