Threats to Natural Areas 

The City of Nedlands works to protect and conserve its natural areas in collaboration with the community. When visiting the City's natural areas you can help us care for the environment and protect local flora and fauna by staying on designated pathways, not picking wildflowers or plants, keeping your dog on leash and responsibly disposing of your dog’s excrement. 

The key threats to the City’s natural areas include:  

  • Environmental weed invasion 
  • Climate change 
  • Plant pathogens 
  • Feral animals 
  • Unauthorised activities and access  

Environmental Weed Invasion 

Environmental weeds are plants introduced to an area where they are not naturally found. They represent a major threat to biodiversity by establishing themselves in natural ecosystems and modifying natural processes, resulting in the decline of the ecosystem they invade.  

Environmental weeds cause disturbance to natural areas by: 

  • Displacing native flora and fauna species  
  • Reducing natural seedling recruitment 
  • Altering soil nutrients 
  • Increasing fuel loads 
  • Reducing species and genetic diversity, and 
  • Altering the structure of natural plant communities 

The City undertakes an integrated weed management approach using a range of weed control methods including approved herbicides, physical removal, mulching, installation of jute matting and biological control methods. 

The purpose of this approach is to ensure the long-term protection of the City’s biodiversity assets that are increasingly under pressure from threats such as climate change, feral animal invasion and environmental weeds. The City’s weed management approach also assists the City in managing its obligations regarding fire risk and legal requirements to manage declared weeds. 

How can you help reduce environmental weed invasion in the City? 

  • Stay on designated pathways  
  • Report illegal dumping to the City’s Rangers 
  • Join a ‘Friends of’ group 
  • Keep your dog on leash and remove dog excrement which can spread weeds in natural areas 

Climate Change 

Climate change poses a significant threat to the City’s natural areas and predicted warmer and drier conditions are expected to impact the survival and persistence of native flora and fauna.  

This is also likely to result in changes to the structure and composition of vegetation and fauna communities. The condition of remnant bushland may decline, and vulnerable foreshore areas are likely to be further impacted by rising sea levels and storm surges. 

In preparation for the changes and disturbances resulting from climate change, the City is taking action to build its ecosystem resilience.  Maintaining natural areas and creating and enhancing ecological linkages, are the most effective strategies for building ecosystem resilience and providing for species migration and protection.  

Undertaking ongoing natural area management activities in collaboration with the community will also build ecosystem resilience by reducing existing threats to natural areas such as feral animals and environmental weeds and by increasing the connectivity and protection of fragmented landscapes.  

Plant Pathogens 

Plant pathogens consist of organisms such as fungi, bacteria and viruses that cause plant diseases. Plant pathogens naturally occur within soil and plants and are considered to be an important part of a natural functioning healthy ecosystem.  

However, some plant pathogens have been introduced to new areas through the movement of soil and vegetation. These pathogens may survive in the soil or within plant tissues for long periods without causing an outbreak of serious disease.  

Disease outbreaks can occur if there are increases in the population of the pathogen, alteration to a more favourable environment, or increases in the vulnerability of the plant (eg as a result of stress caused by factors such as fragmentation, drought, soil compaction or mechanical damage to the trunk of trees). 

In recent years, the City has surveyed for, and isolated, several plant pathogens including species of Phytophthora and fungal canker pathogens, in bushland areas. Other causes of tree decline such as drought, nutrient deficiencies and stem boring insects have also been identified. Please refer to tree death article here.

The City works to manage plant pathogens by maintaining hygiene protocols for contractors, staff and volunteers, ensuring any soil or plant materials used in restoration activities is pathogen free, and by reducing disturbance to trees and  natural areas.  

How can you help? 

  • Don’t dump garden waste or soil into park and reserves 
  • Only use nurseries accredited by the Nursery industry Accreditation Scheme Australia (NIASA) 
  • Keep to designated pathways when walking in bushland 
  • Keep dogs on lead and dispose of dog excrement responsibly 

Feral Animal Control 

Feral animals are introduced animals that live in the wild and have negative impacts on native fauna and flora by predation of native animals, habitat displacement and destruction; and spreading disease. The City of Nedlands controls feral cats, foxes, rabbits and bees in order to protect native flora and fauna within the City. 

The City also takes part in a regional feral animal control program implemented by the Western Suburbs Regional Organisation of Councils (WESROC). The purpose of the regional program is to coordinate a cross-boundary approach with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of feral animal control in the region. WESROC also developed the Responsible Cat Ownership program to assist the regional feral animal control program. 

More Information: 


Unauthorised Activities  

The activities listed below are considered unauthorised activities in bushland areas: 

  • Removal or damage of vegetation 
  • Littering 
  • Dumping waste 
  • Camping 
  • Driving off–road vehicles or trail bikes 
  • Trail bikes 
  • Building structures (such as cubbies) 


More Information 

Should you observe any of the activities listed above, please report it to the City of Nedlands on 9273 3500 including details of the time, date and, if possible, a description of the vehicle or licence number.