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Great Western Woodland

East of the famous Rabbit Proof Fence is 16 million hectare (40 million acres) of relatively intact bush.

This rich tapestry of woodlands, mallees and shrublands connects Australia’s south-western corner to its inland deserts. It is a land of granite rock islands, of shrubby plains, of mallee and red dirt, ironstone ridges and tall open woodlands.  These are so vast that ancient hydrological patterns still operate – a place where clouds gather in response to the vegetation beneath.

Nowhere else does such a variety of large trees grow where water is so scarce and the soil so depleted of nutrients.

The Great Western Woodlands (GWW) is home to more than 20% of all Australia’s known plant species, and remains a unique haven for a community of animal species that are now threatened elsewhere in Australia. One of these are the birds typically found in temperate woodlands. As a direct result of habitat destruction and fragmentation, woodland bird communities have been in decline in many parts of Australia, but they can still be found in the Great Western Woodlands. This has implications for the management of woodlands across Australia, as it provides an opportunity to better understand the functioning of intact temperate woodland bird communities.

Although the Great Western Woodlands remains a largely intact ecosystem predominantly located on native title and public lands, only small portions of the area are currently under protection. Today, despite its rich biological and cultural values, this wilderness is threatened by poor fire management, feral animals, weed encroachment, and human activities including careless road construction and mining. Yet the region also represents a part of the country where conservation opportunities still exist at an enormous scale.

Our vision

Recognition, protection and integrated management for one of Australia’s great natural areas through the involvement of local communities for the benefit of people, nature and future generations.

A number of organisations are working with the communities and stakeholders of the Woodlands to have this area protected, managed and promoted in a way that:

  • Recognises and manages the area as a single entity (or landscape), not as fragmented, separate parts
  • Provides substantial financial & human resources for ongoing management
  • Supports ongoing, well managed, economic and recreational land uses
  • Ensures the rights of Traditional Owners are respected, and they are enabled to have a high level of leadership in the ownership, management and protection of the areas culture and natural heritage
  • Highlights the area’s status as a very special, diverse and beautiful Australian landscape
  • Maximises local community leadership and involvement

How can we achieve this?

  • Through the development of regional management arrangements involving all participating stakeholders and underpinned by strong, positive, long term working relationships.
  • Through a Government commitment to statutory recognition, protection and management of the outstanding values of the Great Western Woodlands.
  • Through development of comprehensive management plans which provide the scientific and cultural basis for future management and sets out a range of land use zones which provide ‘security of purpose’ for their intertwined cultural and conservation values.

More on the Great Western Woodlands:



Culture and Heritage


Research and Reports

Stop and rethink the fence  



Paula Deegan and the Ranges Link group working on their conservation plan. This group always include scone, jam and cream in their planning sessions.Photo courtesy Paula Deegan.


Planning in the early days (2004). Since then mapping and the availability of spatial datasets has improved enormously. Photo Nathan McQuoid.



Karri trees beside the Frankland River.







Giant Tingle trees only grow in a small region of the forest zone where the soil types, cool southern slopes, a high rainfall and some summer drizzle maintains the conditions they need.


Image source: www.zmescience.com/


The upper reaches of the Margaret River. Photo courtesy Nature Conservation Margaret River Region.


Banksia coccinea or scarlet banksia. Photo Amanda Keesing




Nature Conservation Margaret River Region are romping ahead with Western Ringtail Possum conservation including surveying of the river foreshores and significant habitat enhancement. Photo Boyd Wykes.




Eddy and Donna Wajon, with Barry Heydenrych, amoungst the revegetation on their property Chingarrup Sanctuary.



Erosion control to stop tonnes of sand entering a creek at the bottom of the hill.


Foreshore planting along the Margaret River. Photo courtesy Nature Conservation Margaret River Region.





Keith Bradby and Fred Powell sharing their local knowledge.


Jerramungup High School students volunteer to build reptile habitat from unwanted building materials.



The western, wetter end of the link



Across south-western Australia


Where natural habitat is more fragmented


How we tackle the work




The world's largest remaining temperate woodland. Explore the work of the Photo. Jo Bel



Explore the work undertaken in the areas where the Karri, Jarrah and Marri grow.



The largest temperate woodland in the world


How we tackle the work



Our learnings and achievements


Across south-western Australia





‘River Walk’ Field Day. Basil Schur and Diane Harwood discuss rehabilitating riparian zones with Denmark Community. Photo Shaun Ossinger, WICC.


Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee Annual Fox Shoot 2018. Dispatched 126 foxes, 17 cats and 66 rabbits. Photo Shaun Ossinger, WICC.


Denmark College of Agriculture students planting native seedlings along a creek line to establish a wildlife corridor. Photo Mark Parre, 3 August 2018


There are a range of vegetation types across the Forest to Stirlings area. This is a jarrah-wandoo open woodland. Photo Basil Schur.


Across this region are strings of lake systems. Some are fresh, many are naturally salty. All are important habitat including for migratory bird species. Photo Basil Schur.


Planting around the wetlands and lakes helps protect and strengthen their habitat values. Wetlands are fragile and management is often needed to ensure their ongoing health. Photo Basil Schur.


Here is one of the healthy bandicoots living in the Balijup feral proof sanctuary. There is regular monitoring to check on their health and breeding. Photo Basil Schur


This is the predator proof fence around the wildlife sanctuary at Balijup near Tenterden. I has a floppy top which stops foxes and cats climbing over the top. Photo Basil Schur.


Breakaway country in the Stirling to Fitzgerald landscape. And on top a rare eucalypt. This region is a hotspot of biodiversity - even richer that the renowned Stirling Range. Photo Jiri Lochman.


The 2017 gathering of the groups in Albany. Photo Amanda Keesing


Gondwana Link - reconnected country across 1,000 km of the SW corner of Australia, an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot.



The coastline of the Manypeaks area is spectacular with granite domes, stunning beaches and extremely diverse vegetation. Photo Cary Nicholas.


Typical mallee heath with proteaceous species (eg banksias) which are highly evolved and flourish into this country. Photo Chinch Gryniewicz.





Russula cyanoxantha. Painted by Katrina Syme


Simon Judd checks for isopods under a jarrah stump.



Eucalyptus vesiculosa or Red-flowering moort has a very limited distribution. Restoration work has protected exiting stands and expanded the populations of this beautiful eucalypt. Photo Jiri Lochman.



This map of the remaining vegetation in SW Western Australia shows the connected bushland and the habitat gaps across Gondwana Link. Here is our best opportunity to relink ecosystems from east to west.


The range of flowers in the Manypeaks varied vegetation systems is astounding. This yellow Pimelea in the heathlands and scrubby mallee waves around in the wind and catches your attention.


Red-tailed Black Cockatoos love the Marri nuts. They hold the nuts in one claw and uses their very strong beaks to extract the seeds.


Cropping and running stock occurs across much of the Manypeaks region. This is a canola crop.


One of the many beautiful eucalypts that grow in the link. Photo Katie Syme.


This is an example of the heathlands found in parts of the region. Low shrubs with emerging Banksia coccinea - the scarlet banksia.


Humidicutis viridimagentea. Painted by Katrina Syme.


Noongar women visiting Nowanup. There are four generations from one family in the image. Gondwana Link strives to give the traditional owner the opportunity to use and manage country. Photo Amanda Keesing


National Tree day volunteers in our first year. Gondwana Link is many groups and individuals working together to achieve a shared vision.


Farmland north of the Stirling Range. People and their businesses are part of the landscape. Photo Amanda Keesing.


Aerial view showing the bushland and revegetation on the property Yarrabee at the base of the Stirling Range. Photo David Freudenberger.



There are some weird and wacky plants in the region - here is one of them. Acacia glaucoptera. Photo Amanda Keesing.


This cute honey possum needs nectar all year round. This means that in it's habitat something is flowering at all times of the year. Photo Amanda Keesing.



Some birds can fly long distances over disturbed areas. Others like the blue wren will only fly a few meters across cleared spaces. So habitat connectivity is different for different species. Photo Raana Scott.


Some of the many and varied fungi to be found across Gondwana Link. Photo Katrina Syme



The stunning Splendid Wren does not like to fly across cleared areas - it likes bush patches close together. Photo Shaun Welsh.


Restoration on Yarrabee just east of the Stirlings. Some locals feel this land and neighbouring blocks should never have been cleared as they are agriculturally low productivity. Gondwana Link are delighted to return the property to nature.



Environmental supporters. Photo: Amanda Keesing


Photo: AK


Lotterywest present a cheque to support the Knowledge Connection project, 2006. Photo: Amanda Keesing


Photo: Pam Lumsden


Gondwana Link receive a donation raised in New York through G'Day USA, 2007, arranged through The Nature Conservancy and delivered by their then CEO Steve McCormack.


Groups get together in the Porongurups, 2014. Photo Simon Neville


Here is the same place 9 years later. Photo Amanda Keesing.


Groups at 2009 forum in Denmark. Photo Basil Schur