1. Globally significant: At 16 million hectares, the Great Western Woodlands (GWW) is the largest intact temperate woodland left on Earth. In South Africa, Europe and the Americas, this type of woodland has been mostly cleared, fragmented and degraded.
2. Remarkable richness: This special place is home to a remarkable richness and diversity of plant life. There are more plant species in the GWW than in the whole of Canada. Further, 30% of Australia’s gumtree species are found here making it our Eucalypt heartland.
3. Threatened species: Due to its size and relative health, the GWW is a safe haven for many our our most threatened creatures. Animals that have become rare in other parts of the country, such as malleefowl, scarlet-chested parrots, bilbies and numbats, are still found living happily in the Woodlands.
The GWW is at risk of suffering a ‘death by a thousand cuts’. Successive governments having failed to adequately recognise, protect, and manage the Woodlands which has placed unnecessary and significant strain on this great wild place.
Infrastructure for large-scale mining and agricultural projects such as roads, cleared land, and planned new barrier fences presents a serious threat of extensive fragmentation of the Woodlands. This is putting strain on the land’s natural processes, disturbing native wildlife corridors, and facilitating the spread of foreign pest species.
Many large bushfires combined with prescribed burning operations ordered by the state government have resulted in Woodland areas being incinerated too frequently to allow proper ecological recovery.
Too many great wild places are lost simply because people are unaware of their environmental and cultural importance. We’re committed to raising awareness about the GWW and threats it faces both locally and nationally. From our point of view, the more people who understand the significance of what we stand to lose, the better.
In order to do this we’re building alliances with key stakeholders: Traditional Owners, scientists, politicians, mining companies, and local communities.
As part of raising awareness, we’re highlighting and campaigning against several specific threats to the area. Putting pressure our elected representatives to do a better job in realising the significance of this incredible natural asset is of the highest priority.
So far, we’ve been successful in forcing the Western Australian state government to deliver their first ever Biodiversity and Cultural Conservation Strategy for the region. This an awesome step in the right direction from our point of view!
One of the wonderful features of the Great Western Woodlands are the amazing "Banded Ironstone Formation" (BIF) Ranges, such as the Helena and Aurora Range. The Range has been described by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) as "one of the more significant biodiversity assets in WA". It is also known as the "jewel in the crown" of the Great Western Woodlands. But now this ancient and unique landscape, loved by all, is under imminent threat of being destroyed forever by mining.
We are working to ensure its secure protection as a National Park with support from Traditional Owners and the wider community. Read more about the Range, why it's so special, why it's under threat and how you can help protect it.
The GWW is a massive ‘carbon bank’. It is estimated that around 950 million tonnes of carbon are stored in the GWW’s soils and vegetation alone.
We know that the GWW is also the largest unfragmented temperate woodlands left in the Southern Hemisphere, and they also support over 3000 native species. Our vision is one that protects the incredibly unique and important ecology of the area.
The Woodlands also have a rich and living Indigenous culture. We’re supporting Traditional Owners to re-establish their traditional burning methods and to manage protected areas and promote Indigenous culture as rangers.
There’s also a growing focus on tourism in the area, with signs popping up throughout the Woodlands to educate visitors about the extraordinary land they’re driving through.
You can help us protect the Great Western Woodlands. Donate to the Wilderness Society today and be a part of something incredible for Australia. Or visit our current campaign focus page to take action.
- Report: The extraordinary nature of the Great Western Woodlands.
- Report: Green Carbon in the Great Western Woodlands: A global opportunity.
- Report: DEC's Biodiversity and Cultural Conservation Strategy for GWW.
- Science statement in support of GWW
- More reports.