Subterranean Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (SGDEs) in the Margaret River and Perth regions of southwest Western Australia are threatened by loss of aquatic habitat resulting from declining groundwater levels and reduced stream flows experienced during the previous few decades, and particularly during the past decade. The main cause of the water decline is reduced rainfall experienced in southwest Western Australia since the mid 1970’s, although other anthropogenic stressors, including tree plantations and groundwater pumping are involved in some catchments.
Climate modelling attributes part of the reduced rainfall trend to atmospheric greenhouse gases, and predicts the drying trend will increase over coming decades.
The SGDEs threatened by climate change comprise species and ecological communities of stygofauna. Some of the stygofauna species and communities are associated with the roots of trees submerged in cave pools and streams, which provide a food source and habitat.