Study Area

'Matuwa' / Lorna Glen Proposed Conservation Reserve

In the middle of Western Australia lies a vast landscape known by the indigenous Martu people as ‘Matuwa’.  In the 1930s, a portion of this land was settled by European pastoralists, named ‘Lorna Glen’ (after a permanent spring and important Martu cultural site) and grazed by sheep and cattle for 70 years.  In an effort to increase their water supply, the pastoralists deepened the spring and today it runs no more.  Introduced animals like cattle, sheep, fox, cats and camels changed the environment dramatically, opening up the vegetation and contributing to the loss of a suite of native mammals.

In an effort to restore this part of the rangelands, this 260,000 hectare property was acquired by the WA Government in 2000 and a new journey began with traditional culture and conservation the goals.  Co-managed by the traditional owners and WA Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), the land now sees traditional fire management supporting the reintroductions of a range of unique mammals. DPaW has successfully reintroduced five species, including the iconic Bilby, whose conical diggings can now be found below Acacia shrubs throughout the landscape. The Martu people practice traditional culture and their expert tracking skills help conservation managers locate and control feral cats, one of the key threats to the native mammals’ return.

As you can see in the above photo, the vegetation in this region consists mainly of mulga (Acacia aneura) plains, but there are also open areas of samphire, spinifex (Triodia spp.) grassland and dunes, and occasional drainage lines of river red-gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). While dry for much of the year, the creeks flood in good rainfall seasons creating lush lines of blooming vegetation, an amazing contrast to the baking red sands of the spinifex country.

You can see more of this landscape by clicking the Photos tab and browsing through various albums.