Front cover of Pilbara Threat Management report

Front cover of Pilbara Threat Management report.

Priority threat management for Pilbara species of conservation significance

The Pilbara bioregion of Western Australia has exceptional biodiversity values; unfortunately many of these are under increasing pressure from threats such as invasive species and habitat destruction. This report provides critical information to assist in implementing a region-wide conservation strategy to protect 53 of the Pilbara’s most threatened species (‘conservation significant’ species) to conserve the diverse plants and animals of this unique and ancient region.

  • 2 June 2014 | Updated 4 June 2014

This report provides 17 technically and socially feasible management strategies for protecting conservation-significant plants and animals in the Pilbara.

The strategies were defined by 49 experts in the ecology, management and people of the region.

The report outlines the relative ecological cost-effectiveness of each strategy, indicating which strategies will provide the greatest return on investment. Cost-effectiveness was calculated as the expected benefit to the persistence of 53 key threatened native fauna and flora species that a particular strategy would generate, divided by the expected cost of that strategy.

Without management intervention, 25 per cent of the 53 conservation significant species are likely to be lost from the Pilbara in the next 20 years, including the greater bilby, spectacled hare-wallaby and De Grey saltbush.

The top three most cost-effective strategies for protecting biodiversity in the Pilbara, each with an expected cost of less than A$1 million per year, are:

  • managing feral ungulates (ie donkeys, camels, horses, cattle and pigs)
  • creating predator proof sanctuaries
  • managing feral cats.

Investing in these strategies, and in the other 14 management strategies identified in the report would have benefits far beyond conservation of threatened species.

Examples include:

  • protecting species and communities that are not currently listed as threatened
  • enhancing ecologically sustainable mining, tourism and pastoral activities
  • creating jobs
  • improving carbon sequestration, soil health, water quality and drought tolerance
  • increasing resilience to changes in climate
  • meeting the conservation and land management goals of Indigenous communities in the Pilbara.

Funds, in kind support and information were provided by 49 experts in the Pilbara's ecology and management from Atlas Iron, the Australian Department of Environment's (formerly Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities) Pilbara Taskforce, Western Australia's Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia's Department of Aboriginal Affairs, the University of Queensland's National Environmental Research Program for Environmental Decisions, and CSIRO's Biodiversity Portfolio and Climate Adaptation Flagship.

Find out more about CSIRO's Biodiversity research.

Carwardine J, Nicol S, van Leeuwen S, Walters B, Firn J, Reeson A, Martin TG, Chades I (2014) Priority threat management for Pilbara species of conservation significance, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Brisbane.

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