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What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity can be defined as the natural variety of living things including plants, animals and microorganisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems of which they form a part.

Threats to biodiversity

The greatest threatening activity to the Shire’s local biodiversity is any change in land use which results in the clearing of native vegetation, including construction of housing and infrastructure and the expansion of agricultural activities.

Where natural areas are surrounded by cleared or developed areas, a range of other threats become evident, including:

  • Weed infestations.
  • Increased frequency of fire.
  • Spread of Phytophthora (dieback).
  • Feral animals.
  • Increased rubbish dumping.
  • Physical disturbance by vehicles, pedestrians, bikes and horses.

Protecting our natural vegetation

Vegetation complexes have been mapped for the entire south west of the state by Heddle et al. (1980). Vegetation complexes are derived from an assessment of mapping of soils, landforms and rainfall information.

There are 22 vegetation complexes mapped for the Shire of Harvey, which covers sections of the Swan Coastal Plain to the west and the Darling Scarp and Plateau to the east.

Some vegetation complexes have been cleared to critical levels in the past, in particular on the eastern side of the Swan Coastal Plain for the purpose of agriculture. As large sections of the Swan Coastal Plain have been cleared the majority of remnant vegetation within this section of the Shire is locally and regionally significant.

Protecting our native fauna

Western Australia’s unique fauna is protected by the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. Many are considered to be threatened.

Threatened fauna known to occur within the Shire include:

  • The Chuditch.
  • Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo.
  • Forest Red Tail Black Cockatoos.
  • Western Ringtail Possum.
  • Graceful Sun Moth.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has prepared a number of recovery plans for threatened fauna species.

More information and contacts

For more information about biodiversity in the Shire of Harvey, please contact us.

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