Perth’s bushland holds a wide range of values which contribute strongly to our ‘sense of place. Despite constant threats to that which remains, Perth people and visitors still have access to a range of precious localities that remind us of what was once a rich and varied mosaic of magnificent trees, dense understory and extensive sedges, heath and pristine wetlands.
Urban bushland remnants, then, help conserve natural landscape features which are a diminishing part of the region’s heritage.
Perth’s natural environment defines the city’s special character. Urban bushland remnants can fulfil the need people living in the city may feel for some space and solitude in a tranquil natural setting. Remnant bushland areas are a celebration of natural forms and shapes and colours and sounds. The living communities are blended and interwoven through long associations with each other and with the physical environment.
Bushland provides important visual relief from built-up areas and a link with the original landscape. The beauty of the bushland contributes to the quality of life in urban communities. Bushland is an important historical and social record. Many remnant bushland areas in and around Perth have significance to both Aboriginal and European cultures.
Small bushland remnants can provide some particularly valuable additional feeding opportunities and nesting sites for those native birds that have, to some degree, adapted to living in suburban parks and gardens. Even quite small bushland remnants increase the amount of bird life found in the urban areas surrounding them. Bushland areas can function as nurseries for native birds in the wider urban environment.
Bushland is used for research and fieldwork by primary and secondary schools, and tertiary institutions. The community has a right to learn about, care about and enjoy our floral heritage. Community involvement and education are conducive to a caring and enjoyment.
Our children have the same rights. All children should have the right of access to bushland within walking distance of home and school for both appreciation and the opportunity to learn about bushland values.
Urban bushland remnants are a living reminder of an urban locality’s original state. Bushland remnants can function as environmental indicators.
Urban bushland is fragile and sensitive to environmental disturbance and hence may reveal problems with changing groundwater levels, for example, before effects are noticed elsewhere.
Bushland is a key recreational amenity. It is used for bushwalking, photography, nature study… and many other leisure pursuits.
The scientific study of Western Australia’s flora and fauna has only scratched the surface. The conservation of remnant bushland not only conserves flora and fauna but often also keeps intact some of the natural landforms of an area. The “web of life” at the invertebrate level and at the microscopic level is very poorly known. The interaction between these levels and macroflora is, again, very poorly known.
Until our scientific knowledge of urban bushland ecosystems has improved dramatically, all bushland clearing in the metropolitan area should be banned…
All too often, urban development involves major modification of the topography and landforms. Combined with crude flora and fauna surveys that do not reveal the true complexity and environmental significance of bushland remnants around Perth; they should not be used to facilitate approval for clearing. When bushland is cleared, nobody really knows exactly what is being lost.