Plant Diversity ›› 2019, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (02): 59-74.doi: 10.1016/j.pld.2018.09.006

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Recovery of threatened plant species and their habitats in the biodiversity hotspot of the Southwest Australian Floristic Region

Leonie Monksa, Sarah Barrettb, Brett Beechamc, Margaret Byrnea, Alanna Chantd, David Coatesa, J. Anne Cochranea, Andrew Crawforda, Rebecca Dillona, Colin Yatesa   

  1. a Biodiversity and Conservation Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, Bentley, Western Australia, 6983, Australia;
    b Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. 120 Albany Highway, Albany, Western Australia, 6330, Australia;
    c Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. P.O. Box 100, Narrogin, Western Australia, 6312, Australia;
    d Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. P.O. Box 72, Geraldton, Western Australia, 6531, Australia
  • Received:2018-02-10 Revised:2018-09-19 Online:2019-04-25 Published:2019-05-18
  • Contact: Leonie Monks E-mail:leonie.monks@dbca.wa.gov.au

Abstract: The Southwest Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR) is a global biodiversity hotspot with high plant diversity and endemism and a broad range of threatening processes. An outcome of this is a high proportion of rare and threatened plant species. Ongoing discovery and taxonomic description of new species, many of which are rare, increases the challenges for recovery of threatened species and prioritisation of conservation actions. Current conservation of this diverse flora is based on integrated and scientific evidence-based management. Here we present an overview of current approaches to the conservation of threatened flora in the SWAFR with a focus on active management through recovery and restoration that is integrated with targeted research. Key threats include disease, fragmentation, invasive weeds, altered fire regimes, grazing, altered hydro-ecology and climate change. We highlight the integrated approach to management of threats and recovery of species with four case studies of threatened flora recovery projects that illustrate the breadth of interventions ranging from In situ management to conservation reintroductions and restoration of threatened species habitats. Our review and case studies emphasise that despite the scale of the challenge, a scientific understanding of threats and their impacts enables effective conservation actions to arrest decline and enhance recovery of threatened species and habitats.

Key words: Threatened species, Threatening processes, Conservation, Recovery, Restoration, Biodiversity hotspot