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Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy

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Areas of Conservation Significance on Cape York Peninsula

Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy
Abrahams, H., Mulvaney, M., Glasco, D., & Bugg, A.
Office of the Co-ordinator General of Queensland
Australian Heritage Commission, March 1995


Areas of Conservation Significance on Cape York Peninsula

15.0 Significant Vegetation Corridors

15.1 Riparian Corridors

The major river systems on the Peninsula tend to run from east to west. The rivers are usually fringed by a strip of forest, that is much lusher than the dry woodlands found away from the water courses. The forests act as corridors for dispersal for many species, including the Spotted Cuscus (Spilocuscus maculatus), White-tailed Rat (Uromys caudimaculatus), frugivorous birds, and Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus). The riparian corridors allow movement between the extensive rainforests on the east coast and the smaller sand ridge rainforests on the west coast (Winter and Lethbridge 1994, DEH 1995). These corridors are considered important under sub-criterion A2 (maintenance of existing processes) as they provide suitable migratory habitat for many species.

Winter and Lethbridge (1994) concluded that the riparian forests of greatest conservation significance are those along the major rivers, namely the Archer-Coen and the Wenlock River systems.

To the south-east of the study the Normanby River corridor also provides a substantial corridor that links the Wet Tropical Rainforests to the south of the study area with the coast to the south of the Central Peninsula Rainforest areas. For many species that migrate north-south along the Peninsula and to the forests to the south, this area provides an important linking corridor.

The riparian corridors are also important dry season refuge areas for woodland species whose populations may be decimated through a combination of heat and drought. The riparian vegetation may also be the highest feature on a floodplain and of importance as a refuge habitat during times of flooding (Winter & Lethbridge 1994).

Significant riparian corridors are shown on Figure 15.1.