Biotic Setting – Binjareb-Peel Geodrive Trail – Geoparks Australia
Pied Stilts flying over the waters of the Peel Harvey Estuary

Biotic Setting – Binjareb-Peel Geodrive Trail

The South-West of Western Australia has faced such isolation that plants and animals have been able to evolve to their distinctive environments, leading to extremely high rates of endemic species. This region is a part of the Global Biodiversity Hot Spot of the South West botanical province. This region supports an estimated 5,700 taxa of vascular plants, representing two-thirds of the estimated plant taxa in WA (Hopper et al. 1996, Beard et al.2000). About 79 percent of the plant taxa in the South-West Botanical Province are endemic to the province (Beard et al. 2000). Plants in this region have had to adapt to sandy and low nutrient soils and periods of drought. The plants are sclerophyllous ( hard leaved), protected on the outside from a glossy or resinous surface. Legumes are able to fix nitrogen into the soil, and this is a hot spot for carnivorous plants that have adapted to gain their nitrogen and phosphorous by digesting insects. 

Continued land clearing, plant diseases (particularly Phytophthora spp.), weeds and introduced and other problem animals, road works, utility servicing, and upgrades, urbanisation, grazing by domestic stock, and changes to hydrological regimes continue to impact flora and ecological communities. The Swan Coastal Plain is altered to such an extent that much of the remnant vegetation is regionally significant and needs some level of protection (EPA 2006).

Fauna in this region have particular habitat and spatial requirements and respond poorly to the effects of fragmentation and its associated impacts, such as fire, weeds, competitors, and predators. Therefore a primary aim for fauna management within this region is the protection of existing habitats and rehabilitation of degraded areas to support wildlife. The estuary and waterways provide habitat for a large number of bird species, including migratory bird species coming from as far away as the Arctic circle.

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