The Eastern Stirling Range Montane Heath and Thicket ecological community is a montane community of heath, thicket and, on skeletal soils, scrub vegetation. It is found only in the eastern Stirling Range of southwestern Western Australia, typically at altitudes approximately 900 m to 1090 m above sea level.
Eastern Stirling Range Montane Heath and Thicket
Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Approved Conservation Advice for Eastern Stirling Range Montane Heath and Thicket
However; global climate models indicate that temperature will increase and rainfall will continue to decline in south west WA with associated increase in wildfire risk.
Inappropriate fire regimes are another major threat to the ecological community; including if planned burning in the vicinity of the ecological community gets out of control; is too frequent or at a season that is deleterious to the survival of the species.
Only about five percent of the ecological community has remained unburnt since at least 1972; while 74 percent was burnt in both 2000 and 1991; so has experienced a fire interval of nine years; which Yates and Barrett (2014) indicated is at the lower bounds of risk for species persistence in this ecological community.
These latter fires also appear to have exacerbated the impacts of disease; with several key plant species failing to recover to pre fire abundance levels (Keith et al. 2014).
Barrett and Yates (2014) suggest that the potential for fire intervals below the tolerance threshold for this ecological community is likely to increase.