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

6. Foci of biological diversity in the Northern Territory (continued)

6.6. Burt Plain

Area

71,809 km².

Primary land-use

Extensive cattle grazing.

National Parks and Nature Reserves

None.

Management problems

Feral horses; patchy but intense rabbit infestations; land degradation due to over-grazing by cattle (Bastin et al. 1993).

ANZECC-listed species

No information.

Species that are regionally endemic

Some species of camaenid land-snails are found only in the Region: Montanomelon reynoldsi in the Reynolds Range; and Semotrachia jinkana and S. huckittana in the Dulcie Ranges (Solem 1993).

Relict populations

Seventeen rare and relict plant species were found in the Dulcie Ranges (Gibson et al. 1989; Latz and Langford 1983). The Dulcie Ranges were considered third in importance for relict plants (harbouring 13 species or 19% of total known from central Australia) after the MacDonnell (46%) and George Gill Ranges (40%) and equal or better than the James Range system. Fine gorges exist with permanent and semi-permanent waterholes; where water is permanent, reeds, rushes and ferns occur. Rare and relict plants are restricted to permanent mesic areas: Fimbristylis sieberana, Imperata cylindrica (otherwise only known from George Gill Range and Palm Valley), Juncus aridicola, J. continuus (a relict reed from Picton Springs), Potamogeton tricarinatus, Samolus eremaeus, and Schoenus falcatus (otherwise only known from George Gill Range). Other species of rare and relict plants: Cucumis mel, Hannafordia bisselli, Helichrysum thomsonii, Phyllanthus aff. simplex, Poranthera triandra, Spartothamnella puberula, Veronia cinerea, Vittadinia hispidula and V. virgata.

Other significant populations

Three species of fish (Leipotherapon unicolor, Melanotaenia splendida, Ambassis agrammus agassizii) have been recorded for the Dulcie Ranges (Latz and Langford 1983).

Wetland sites

The gorges of the Dulcie Ranges were described above.

Refugia

The Dulcie Ranges seem to warrant listing as a refuge (see section 12.8).