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

12. Refugia in the Northern Territory (continued)

12.13. Reference number NT13

Refuge area: Tanami drainage system

Biogeographic region: Tanami

Type of refuge: Refuge from exotic animals/ecological refuge

Lat./Long. 20°50’S / 130°20’E

Quality of refuge: Highly significant (5)

Area (km²): <1,000

Chief refuge value

A refuge for several rare or uncommon vertebrate species due to some combination of two factors: the relative absence of exotic competitors and predators; and the presence of a buried drainage system which allows for comparatively regular plant production.

General description

The drainage system runs through sandplain for up to 50 km to the south of The Granites. The system is some metres lower than this sandplain, and supports Triodia pungens and Plectrachne sp., plus a variety of halophytic plants around saline pans1, 2. Exotic animals are vital issues in the refuge3.

ANZECC-listed species

The last remaining mainland population of the rufous hare-wallaby Lagorchetses hirsutus (E) exists here2, 3. Bilbies Macrotis lagotis (V) are also present1. Mulgaras Dasycercus cristicauda (V) are relatively common also4.

Regional endemics

None identified.

Relict species

The species mentioned above.

Other significant species

Striated grasswrens Amytornis striatus1.

Key threats

Foxes, cats, camels, and rabbits.

Land tenure

Aboriginal land.

Key references

1. Gibson (1986)

2. Lundie-Jenkins (1993)

3. Lundie-Jenkins et al. (1993)

4. Gibson and Cole (1992)