Abbott, Ian, Andrew A Burbridge

Comprehensively researched by two leading Western Australian wildlife scientists, this book offers insights into the natural history and biodiversity of Western Australia’s more than 3000 islands.  Almost all of them are either national parks, nature reserves, or Indigenous Protected Areas; a situation unique world-wide.  Western Australia is in the unique position of having a globally-significant heritage of continental islands unaffected by ice and to a large extent by human contact. Many of these islands retain large breeding populations of seabirds, seals, and sea turtles. All have elements of an ancient fauna and flora that characterise the biota of Australia: marsupials, parrots, endemic genera of plants, etc. The conspicuous species of some of WA’s islands have been known to Europeans since the 17th Century. These visits by the Dutch and English have no parallel with other Australian islands.  Natural history observations made then are recounted in this book.

These islands, as well as being a critical part of the reserve system conserving WA’s biodiversity, provide attractive opportunities forscientists to study the ecology, genetics, phylogeny, and biogeography of species. In particular, archipelagoes constitute natural laboratories where the processes of immigration and extinction have acted to unequal extents, resulting in unique combinations of species of plant, reptile, terrestrial bird, and mammal species.  Some of these islands provide attractive opportunities for tourism.

It is a valuable addition to the library of anyone interested in the value and conservation of islands and the wider environment.  It documents the islands’ plants and animals, and discusses the islands’ history, impacts of invasive species, and management actions.  It is arranged geographically, taking the reader on a journey from the Kimberley south along the west coast to Cape Leeuwin, and then east to the Archipelago of the Recherche.


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The Book Reality Experience, November 2022.  374 pages, paperback, colour photographs, maps,