What we do

The Trust’s central objective is to conserve and increase knowledge of biodiversity in the Great Victoria Desert.

To facilitate this, the Trust has developed a Bioregional Plan for the Great Victoria Desert and has supported a variety of activities including desktop studies, field surveys, workshops, and projects that have community benefits to build capacity for people to manage Country.

The Trust is committed to collating existing information on research and land management actions in the Great Victoria Desert and to share this information with Traditional Owners, government and non-government organisations, researchers, local communities, students, and the general public.

 Sandhill Hibiscus ~ Alyogyne pinoniana

Development of a Bioregional Plan

The purpose of the Trust is to achieve a number of objectives listed in the Trust Deed.

Priority number 1 is to develop a Bioregional Plan for the Great Victoria Desert bioregions 1 and 2 (being the Trust area). Current information about the Great Victoria Desert and the biodiversity within it is limited.

The Bioregional Plan consolidates the existing literature on the Great Victoria Desert. The Plan identifies knowledge gaps and priority actions for the region.

The Plan allows the Trust, government, industry and communities in the region to identify priority activities.

Great Victoria Desert Adaptive Management Plans

The Trust recognises the knowledge and skills of the Indigenous people of the Great Victoria Desert, and will endeavor to involve Indigenous Rangers in land management and conservation activities that the Trust participates in and/or funds.

The Trust has been working with two Traditional Owner and Traditional Custodian groups in the GVD – the Spinifex and Pilki People (represented by the Pila Nguru Aboriginal Corporation and the Spinifex Land Management team) and the Yilka People (represented by the Yilka Aboriginal Corporation and Central Desert Native Title Services). An Adaptive Management Implementation Plan (AIMP) has been produced for the region following a series of workshops to further understand connection to Country.

Silky Pear Karlkurla ~ Marsdenia australis

Cool season prescribed burning in GVD

Prescribed burning in GVD

Fire in the Landscape

Intense bushfires destroy habitat structure and diversity, while temporarily removing vegetation cover over very large areas, exposing fauna to predation.

The combination of highly flammable physical attributes and often extreme fire weather make spinifex grasslands in the GVD particularly susceptible to large scale scale fire events.

Historically, lightning and culturally codified burning practices by Traditional Owners have been the main causes of ignition, creating a diversified landscape with small-patched mosaics of vegetation of different burn ages. The gradual movement of Traditional Owners off Country into missions and pastoral stations resulted in the cessation of traditional burning over much of the desert, causing fire regimes to transform significantly since European colonisation.

Large and hot bushfires have become more frequent and are believed to be a key driver of widespread loss of habitat for important desert species.

The GVD Biodiversity Trust has been working in conjunction with the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to map the fire history of the GVD using high-resolution remote sensing imagery, with the introduction of the Landscape Conservation Initiative to reintroduce patch burning as a means of benefiting vegetation structural diversity and its species.

Sandhill Dunnart

The Sandhill Dunnart (Sminthopsis psammophila) is an insectivorous and nocturnal marsupial that occurs in arid and semi-arid regions.

The Sandhill Dunnart is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Trust has developed Survey and Monitoring Guidelines, and a Research and Adaptive Management Plan, for the Sandhill Dunnart to support future surveys and monitoring exercises.

Current plans are to understand the distribution of this species in the Western Australian GVD, and factors that improve or benefit its habitat.

Sand Dunnart ~ Sminthopsis psammophila

Mallee Fowl ~ Leipoa ocellata

Malleefowl

Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) are unique ground dwelling birds internationally renowned for their habit of building large mounds in which a breeding pair lays and incubates their eggs.

The Malleefowl is listed as Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Trust has developed GVD-specific Survey and Monitoring Protocols, and a Research and Adaptive Management Plan, for the Malleefowl to support future surveys and monitoring exercises.

Current plans are to understand the spread and number of Malleefowl mounds across the GVD, and to establish long-term monitoring sites for this species. understand the distribution of this species in the Western Australian GVD, and factors that improve or benefit its habitat.