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)

6.2. Gulf Coastal

Area

29,610 km².

Primary land-use

Aboriginal land, mining, tourism, some cattle grazing.

National Parks and Nature Reserves

Barranyi National Park; the “Gulf Region Land Use and Development Study” recommended the creation of several conservation reserves in this Region (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991).

Management problems

Burning regimes may be too frequent. Better management of cattle enterprises is also recommended (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991).

ANZECC-listed species

Mammals: The ghost bat Macroderma gigas (V) occurs (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, p. 31).

Birds: The Carpentarian grasswren Amytornis dorotheae (V) occurs in scattered pockets (Garnett 1992, pp. 122-3). McKean and Martin (1989) reported on the species in the Gulf region, noting that it occurs just across the border in Queensland (see also Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, p. 37). Gouldian finches Erythrura gouldiae occur in the McArthur River area (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, p. 37).

Species that are regionally endemic

Reptiles: An undescribed skink Ctenotus sp. from the Pellews (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, pp. 31 and 37).

Plants: Corchorus rostricephalus (on Vanderlin Island), Cycas angulata, and Melaleuca aff. symphyocarpa (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, pp. 30 and 35).

Relict populations

The vine thickets scattered along parts of the coast, including the Pellews, probably contain relict species (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, p. 35).

Other significant populations

Mammals: The pale field-rat Rattus tunneyi and a fat-tailed antechinus Pseudantechinus mimulus, especially on the Pellews (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, p. 31).

Birds: Purple-crowned fairy-wrens Malurus coronatus (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, p. 31).

Plants: Dendrobium affine, Sesbania erubescens, Tephrosia subpectinata (on the Pellews), and Vallisneria caulescens (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991, pp. 30 and 35).

Wetland sites

The Port McArthur tidal wetlands system is regarded as nationally significant for migratory waders and for dugongs Dugong dugon (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1991; Fleming 1993).

Refugia

The Pellew Islands (see section 12.1) are identified as a refuge.