Western Australia hosts 1224 separate Protected Areas covering an area of 65872.89 square miles, roughly 6.30% of the state. 100 of the protected areas are recognized as national parks, and they take up 2.14% of the region’s total area. John Forest National Park, which began operations in 1898, is the state’s oldest national park.
Ecoregions Of Western Australia
Western Australia takes the crown as the world’s second-largest country division. Its vast land mass is home to a variety of ecoregions and ecosystems. Listed as part of the deserts and xeric shrublands biome are the Western Australia mulga shrublands, Pilbara shrublands, Nullarbor Plain xeric shrublands, Great Victoria Desert, Great Sandy Desert, Tanami Desert, Gibson Desert, and the Carnarvon xeric shrublands ecoregions. Ecoregions listed under the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome are the Coolgardie woodlands, Esperance Mallee, Jarrah-Karri forest and shrublands, Kwongan heathlands, Southwest Australia savanna, and the Jarrah Forest. Other ecoregions in the areas are the Victoria Plains tropical savanna and Kimberly tropical savanna.
The Wild Flora And Fauna Of Western Australia
The region supports a variety of animals and plants in its diverse habitats. 141 of Australia’s mammal species live here including red kangaroos, echidnas, possums, brush-tailed bettong, quokka, numbat, mulgara, mouse, Chudtich, bilby, and the tammar wallaby. The region’s reptile species range from crocodiles, snakes, goannas, health monitors, pythons, and tortoises. The area’s vegetation contrasts between shrubs and woodlands and wildflowers and flowering plants. Bird species in Western Australia are estimated at 550 and include red-eared firetail, red-winged fairy-wren, lemon-bellied flycatcher, white-breasted robin, red-capped parrot, western wattlebird, black swan, and the Carnaby’s cockatoo.
Threats To The Wildlife Of Western Australia
The wildlife of the region is increasingly threatened by wild predators including foxes and cats. The area has undergone a facelift over the years, where the natural environment is being replaced by housing and recreational facilities. This development has had unintended consequences among them the invasion of weeds, increased bushfires which cause habitat destruction and a rise in animal road deaths. Climate change has also contributed to the rising incidences of fires. Clearing of land for agriculture has caused habitat loss for the animals and made them prone to other threats. Other identified threats include pollution from waste, chemicals, oil spills, and pesticides, extended drought, and flooding.
Establishment Of National Parks In Western Australia
Under the Ministry of Environment is the Department of Parks and Wildlife mandated to manage the state’s protected areas on behalf of the citizens of Western Australia. The department began operations on July 1, 2013, taking over from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC). The department undertakes its duties following the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984, which is the primary Legislation for the establishment of national parks in the state.
Significance Of National Parks In Western Australia
National Parks protect the region’s biodiversity and enable the efficient implementation of environmental policies. The parks shield flora and fauna from threats and also monitor certain factors to determine the effects they pose on ecosystems. The parks enable people to indulge in recreational activities such as sightseeing, hiking, and photography in a safe way which does not endanger either their lives or the wildlife and plants. National parks in Western Australia are an essential element of the region’s tourism.