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Red Moort

Established:
2014 
Area:
1,042 ha
Location:
130km north-east of Albany
Traditional Owners:
Koreng Noongar people

When we secured Red Moort in 2014 (originally named Monjebup Creek) our staff had already coveted the site as a potential acquisition for many years. It stood out as a remnant patch of intact bushland in an otherwise largely cleared or altered landscape.

More than 650 hectares of the reserve is virgin bushland and contains a unique vegetation complex including one of the largest known stands of Red Moort (Eucalyptus vesiculosa) in the world. Around 30% of the land was cleared in the 1970s, with most regenerating naturally in decades that followed.

The reserve is now part of a mosaic of natural sanctuaries between the Fitzgerald River and Stirling Range National Parks (the Fitz‑Stirling region). Our conservation work here is an important counterbalance to decades of land clearing and supports the Gondwana Link project, a plan to restore a 1,000km swathe of bushland from Western Australia's southwest to the edge of the Nullarbor Plain.

Red-flowered Corackerup Moort. Photo Angela Sanders.

Red Moort protects some of the area’s most at‑risk plant communities including mallee heath and yate woodlands.

The reserve is an example of the extraordinarily fine grain of the landscape in the global biodiversity hotspot of south-west WA. Moving over very short distances there are distinct and sudden boundaries from one vegetation system to another. 

It provides much needed habitat for animals such as the Black‑gloved and Tammar Wallaby, the threatened Malleefowl, Honey Possums and the Western Whipbird.

All this is protected thanks to our generous supporters.

Ecologist Angela Sanders peering into a nest box with Simon Smale. Photo William Marwick.

What Red Moort Reserve protects

Red Moort protects the recently discovered Corackerup Moort, a small mallee eucalypt that in early winter shows off stunning pendulous red flowers. It's also a sanctuary for these significant species and communities:

Animals: Carpet Python, Crested Bellbird, Tammar Wallaby, Black-gloved Wallaby, Malleefowl, Western Pygmy Possum.

Plants: Feather Flowers, Nodding Banksia, Corackerup Moort, Kangaroo Paw, Sandplain Orchid

Vegetation communities: Mallet and moort woodland, Mallee heath, Flat-topped yate, Proteaceous rich heath.

Michael Tichbon Field Station

In 2019 the opening of the Michael Tichbon Field Station heralded a new era for field research in the region. For more than a decade, staff and volunteers faced long drives and no accommodation when accessing the reserves – taking time away from their work.

“When we just had a couple of days' work to do, it really wasn't worth putting a tent up for one night, so we used to do a lot of day trips. But then three hours of the day was spent traveling and you got less done”.
– Ecologist Angela Sanders

The Michael Tichbon Field Station. Photo Lee Griffith Photography.
The Michael Tichbon Field Station. Photo Lee Griffith Photography.

The new station has transformed the way our staff, researchers, volunteers and partners work by enabling them to stay out in the field longer. Already we've already been able to attract a lot of volunteers and there are new opportunities for community engagement and research with this base to work from.

What we're doing

Habitat is ideal for Tammar Wallaby – once thought nearly extinct in the region with many being captured on infra-red remote sensor cameras on the reserve.

A survey of Malleefowl mounds in 2020 found 15 active mounds – the highest concentration of active mounds in south west WA at the time. We've since been working to enhance their recovery by controlling feral animals and restoring the landscape.

Walk trails are planned with the aim of using the Michael Tichbon Field Station as the start and end points for trails that will eventually extend to other conservation reserves in the area.

Alex Hams surveying nest boxes at Red Moort Reserve. Photo Nic Duncan.
Around 15ha was restored in winter 2014 using direct seeding on sandy soils to replace over 60 species of Banksia, Hakea, Melaleuca, Eucalypt and Acacia representative of the area. About 50ha contains a pasture of a native wallaby grass.

Cultural values

Survey work at Red Moort Reserve indicates that Aboriginal people used the area for a range of activities, including gathering raw materials, food processing, hunting, gathering, camping, stone tool manufacture and seasonal movement.

Working with Noongar elders and community, we're continuing to search for Aboriginal artefacts and other clues about how the land was used by their ancestors. This information continues to guide our management of the reserve.

The Michael Tichbon Field Station is also regularly used by Noongar groups for cultural field trips on country.

Noongar man Harley Coyne with Bush Heritage staff at a possible ochre site on Red Moort Reserve.