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South Coast Region is a Biodiversity Hotspot

The Southwest of Australia Hotspot occupies some 356,717 km and our Amazing South Coast Region is part of this hotspot.  This hotspot is one of five Mediterranean-type ecosystems in the world, most rain falls during the winter months and the summers are characteristically dry.

Honey Possums eat nectar from flowers. Photo Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies.

Honey Possums eat nectar from flowers. Photo Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies.

Our South Coast Region makes up part of Australia's only biodiversity hotspot - and is just one of 35 biodiversity hotspots around the world. Almost 80 percent of the plant species in our region are found no where else on earth. The diverse range of wild flowers, forests and native animals found in our Amazing South Coast all contribute to the rare and unique nature of the region. 

What’s a Hotspot?

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria:

  • It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics — which is to say, it must have a high percentage of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable.
  • It must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation. In other words, it must be threatened.

Around the world, 35 areas qualify as hotspots. They represent just 2.3% of Earth’s land surface,but they support more than half of the world’s plant species as endemics — i.e., species found no place else — and nearly 43% of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species as endemics.  

Southwest Australia is one of 25 original global hotspots for wildlife and plants, and the first one identified in Australia.

Since the first analysis identifying biodiversity hotspots in 2000, the list has expanded, and now 35 hotspots are recognised, two in Australia: the Southwest and the forests of east Australia.

Biodiversity hotspots are defined as regions “where exceptional concentrations of endemic species are undergoing exceptional loss of habitat”. As many as 44% of all species of native plants and 35% of all species in four animal groups are confined to the original 25 hotspots, which comprise only 1.4% of Earth’s land surface.

This opens the way for a conservation strategy, focusing on these hotspots in proportion to their share of the world’s species at risk.

According to Conservation International’s assessment, southwestern Australia is one of the biodiversity hotspots with the most opportunities to save species and habitats because of our relatively low population pressures. So it makes perfect sense to concentrate a large conservation effort here to protect those habitats and restore what we can of the losses.

Source: Conservation International

Our Amazing South Coast Region is home to some of Australia’s most iconic species, such as the tiny nectar and pollen-feeding Honey possum, the termite-eating numbat, western swamp tortoise (is one of Australia's most endangered reptiles. It has the smallest surviving population of any Australian reptile. The Western Swamp Tortoise is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.), red capped parrot and The Brush-tailed bettong or Woylie (now currently listed as Critically Endangered)

There are places on Earth that are both biologically rich — and deeply threatened. For our own sake, we must work to protect them.

Southwest Australia, which harbours an astonishing 7,239 vascular plant species, almost 80% of which are found nowhere else in the world