Biodiversity publications archive

Refugia for biological diversity in arid and semi-arid Australia

Biodiversity Series, Paper No. 4
S.R. Morton, J. Short and R.D. Barker, with an Appendix by G.F. Griffin and G. Pearce
Biodiversity Unit
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995

1. Terms of Reference

The report is to consolidate and summarise information on refugia in Australia's arid and semi-arid areas, their value and role in conserving biological diversity and in maintaining the ecological sustainability of surrounding areas, and the management requirements for their long term sustainability. The project was designed to cover the points outlined below.

1.1. Identity of known biological refuges

Location, extent, type (e.g. ephemeral wetland, mound spring, cave, gorge, etc.).

1.2. Importance for the conservation of biological diversity

Species known to be endemic to the area.

Rare or endangered species found there.

Significant populations.

Status as wetland sites of importance (including Ramsar), and national or other conservation parks or reserves.

Importance as refuges in dry years, as areas from which recolonisation can occur.

Importance for relict species or populations.

Degree of degradation, if any.

1.3. Importance for ecological sustainability of surrounding areas

Importance for maintenance of natural populations, including those species which help regulate pest outbreaks.

Role in reducing land degradation, including role as seed banks.

1.4. Management requirements

Threats posed: type and extent.

Potential to reverse degradation or eliminate threats.

Current land uses which conflict or may conflict with biodiversity conservation.

Type of land management.

Gaps in knowledge are delineated. In describing the importance for the conservation of biodiversity, estimates of importance are included, and the known and potential values of each refuge are noted. A summary of management requirements is also provided.