An overview of the ecology, management and conservation of Australia’s temperate woodlands


  • David Lindenmayer,

  • Andrew F. Bennett,

  • Richard Hobbs

David Lindenmayer is a Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society (The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT., 0200 Australia; Tel: +61 (0)2 6125 7800; Email: Andrew Bennett is Professor at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University (221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria, 3125 Australia). Richard Hobbs is Professor at the School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia (35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA, 6009, Australia).
This review article was commissioned by the EMR editorial board to present a broad over-view of perspectives important in the current and future conservation and management of Australia’s temperate woodlands.


Summary  Australia’s temperate woodlands are environments of cultural and ecological importance and significant repositories of Australia’s biodiversity. Despite this, they have been heavily cleared, much remaining vegetation is in poor condition and many species of plants and animals are threatened. Here, we provide a brief overview of key issues relating to the ecology, management and policy directions for temperate woodlands, by identifying and discussing ten themes. When addressing issues relating to the conservation and management of temperate woodlands, spatial scale is very important, as are the needs for a temporal perspective and a complementary understanding of pattern and process. The extent of landscape change in many woodland environments means that woodland patches, linear networks and paddock trees are critical elements, and that there can be pervasive effects from ‘problem’ native species such as the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala). These consequences of landscape change highlight the challenge to undertake active management and restoration as well as effective monitoring and long-term data collection. In developing approaches for conservation and management of temperate woodlands, it is essential to move our thinking beyond reserves to woodland conservation and management on private land, and recognise the criticality of cross-disciplinary linkages. We conclude by identifying some emerging issues in woodland conservation and management. These include the need to further develop non-traditional approaches to conservation particularly off-reserve management; the value of documenting approaches and programmes that demonstrably lead to effective change; new lessons that can be learned from intact examples of temperate woodlands; and the need to recognise how climate change and human population growth will interact with conservation and management of temperate woodlands in future decades.