Perth Urban Bushland

Perth sits within a biodiversity hotspot. It is a rapidly expanding metropolitan area with the population spread across 123kms of the WA coastline. Prior to clearing, the Swan Coastal Plain was primarily Banksia woodlands which in 2016 were classified as a threatened ecological community. The remnant Banksia patches that remain within the urban development matrix provide an opportunity to study the species living within these unique woodlands, the ecological services they provide, the impact of their removal and what it takes to restore this ecological community.

These remnant patches of nature, be it bushland or wetland, wild or constructed, provide more than just ecological benefits to native communities. Access to natural spaces and greenspace in urban areas is proving to be crucial to the wellbeing of humanity by providing intrinsic services that we are only just starting to understand. These areas provide climate control in cityscapes, remove pollutants from the air (eg trees) and our water (eg wetlands), provide areas for recreation and contemplation and allow people to connect to nature.

The ERIE lab has several research projects within the Perth region such as what native and novel food resources are available for endangered Carnaby’s cockatoo and threatened Red-tail Black Cockatoos, the influence of urban encroachment, fire, and fauna crossing structures on the viability of Quenda in Perth and how digging mammals such as Quenda alter their environment in urban reserves. Past projects have researched how the plant functional composition of remnant Banksia woodlands changes with habitat fragmentation, how different fire regimes affect reptile populations in bushland surrounding Perth and the nonmaterial benefits provided by urban green space just to name a few.