Banksia Woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain have just been listed as an Endangered threatened ecological community under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The main ongoing threats to the Banksia dominated woodlands ecological community are clearing and fragmentation; dieback diseases; invasive species; fire regime change; hydrological degradation; climate change; grazing; decline in pollinating and seed dispersing fauna; and loss of keystone Banksia species and fragmenting of nectar/pollen nutritional networks
The ecological community is a woodland associated with the Swan Coastal Plain of southwest Western Australia. A key diagnostic feature is a prominent tree layer of Banksia, with scattered eucalypts and other tree species often present among or emerging above the Banksia canopy. The understorey is a species rich mix of sclerophyllous shrubs, graminoids and forbs. The ecological community is characterised by a high endemism and considerable localised variation in species composition across its range.
The canopy of the Banksia Woodlands is most commonly dominated or co-dominated by Banksia attenuata (candlestick banksia, slender banksia) and/or B. menziesii (firewood banksia). Other Banksia species that dominate in some examples of the ecological community are B. prionotes (acorn banksia) or B.ilicifolia (holly-leaved banksia). Banksia littoralis (swamp banksia) may also be codominant but where it becomes dominant, it typically is not the Banksia Woodlands ecological community as it indicates a different, dampland community. B. burdettii (Burdett’s banksia) is more common on the Dandaragan Plateau where it is often a co-dominant, but being a large shrub where it becomes dominant, it typically forms a tall shrubland and not the Banksia Woodlands ecological community. Other trees of a medium height that may be present, and may be codominant with the Banksia species across a patch, include Eucalyptus todtiana (blackbutt, pricklybark), Nuytsia floribunda (Western Australian Christmas tree), Allocasuarina fraseriana (western sheoak), Callitris arenaria (sandplain cypress), Callitris pyramidalis (swamp cypress) and Xylomelum occidentale (woody pear).
The Banksia Woodlands ecological community is located in the southwest of Western Australia, which is recognised as a global biodiversity hotspot. The Banksia Woodlands ecological community is largely restricted to the Perth and Dandaragan subregions of the Swan Coastal Plain IBRA bioregion, from around Jurien Bay in the north to Dunsborough in the south. The ecological community also extends into immediately adjacent areas on the Whicher and Darling escarpments to the south and east, where pockets of Banksia Woodlands may also occur.
More information can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicshowcommunity.pl?id=131&status=Endangered
Information Source: Government of Australia, Department of Environment.