Conserving biodiversity in agricultural landscapes

We're researching the restoration of eucalypt woodlands, mallee and shrublands in temperate agricultural landscapes for the benefit of biodiversity and agricultural enterprises.

The Challenge

150 years of biodiversity decline

In the period since European settlement, eucalypt woodlands, mallee woodlands and shrublands in Australia’s temperate agricultural regions have been widely cleared for crops and pastures. Vegetation that has not been cleared has become degraded through livestock grazing, nutrient enrichment, salinisation and altered fire regimes.

White box (Eucalyptus albens) trees in a wheat crop near Young, NSW. © CSIRO, Suzanne Prober

Consequently, the biodiversity of Australia's temperate agricultural landscapes has declined dramatically. Invasion by exotic plants and declining soil health has resulted in the loss of native plant species, and many vegetation types are now listed as threatened at national and state levels.

Many plant and animals species are in decline. For example, 49 per cent of the 195 species of birds in the wheatbelt of Western Australia have declined in range and/or abundance since 1900.

Our Response

Restoring biodiversity

We are developing ways to monitor and restore the native plants and animals that depend on woodlands, mallee and shrublands of temperate agricultural landscapes. 

With our understanding of the natural diversity, function, and resilience of native vegetation, we are investigating a range of approaches to restore biodiversity, including:

  • managing livestock grazing
  • understanding and mitigating climate change impacts
  • re-introducing declining species
  • improving soil health
  • reducing soil nutrient levels to limit exotic plant invasions
  • re-instating appropriate fire regimes
  • developing novel methods to detect restoration success.

Our work helps biodiversity co-exist with profitable agricultural enterprises and enhances the resilience of these landscapes to a changing climate.


Our research to date has been documented in a range of reports and publications, including:

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Case studies


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