Bushland is land on which there is vegetation which is either a remainder of the natural vegetation of the land, or, if altered, is still representative of the structure and floristics of the natural vegetation and provides the necessary habitat for native fauna.
Urban bushland is any area of natural vegetation which has been or is likely to be influenced by urbanisation and includes all bushland within the Perth Metropolitan Region Scheme and other regional centres and townships.
Western Australia is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world with the south west botanical province being Australia’s richest botanical area having a rich and endemic flora which is recognised nationally and internationally as one of the world’s mega-diverse regions. An estimated 9000 species of vascular plants are found in this province, with over 70% being endemic.The Swan Coastal Plain region is particularly diverse floristically. Most of the Perth metropolitan area is situated on this plain. The impact of the growing city on this remarkably biodiverse biogeographic region has already been severe. Less than 30 percent of the total area of the original [vegetation] communities still survives on the Swan Coastal Plain portion of the Perth Metropolitan Region and the destruction of natural areas has not ceased. There can be few large cities in the world which are still building over virgin land. Most of the species of small native mammals that once occurred on the Coastal Plain within the region now occupied by the Perth Metropolitan area (about 33 species) have become extinct on that part of the plain now occupied by the city.
Of the bird species recorded on the Swan Coastal Plain around Perth, approximately half of the naturally occurring bird species have decreased in abundance since European settlement with nearly all of the insectivorous and nectivorous species declining as a direct result of the clearing of natural vegetation.
Numerous bird species found on the Swan Coastal Plain have not really adapted to living in conventional parks and gardens environments. So it is that numerous species of birds found in even quite small urban bushland remnants will very seldom be observed in conventional public or private gardens. Clearly the continued presence of such birds in the city is dependent on the conservation of our urban bushland remnants - both large and small.
Urban bushland is a vital aspect of Perth’s environment, heritage, and character, which has been neglected in terms of specific conservation and planning initiatives for far too long. Perth’s bushlands and associated wetlands play a crucial role in meeting a variety of needs: the conservation of biological diversity; providing places in which to walk, play, learn or find peace; and enabling city-dwelling children to grow up with the opportunity to enjoy bushland experiences and to develop an appreciation of the natural world.
Perth’s natural environment defines the city’s special character. Perth’s urban development has destroyed, and continues to destroy, tracts of urban bushland which greatly enhance the beauty, distinctiveness, and charm of a large and growing city.
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