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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

Part D - Conservation Values Collated into Areas of Natural Conservation Significance

19.0 Areas of Natural Conservation Significance

19.1 Introduction

The previous sixteen chapters of this report have assessed and identified the distribution of particular conservation values across Cape York Peninsula. In total, forty separate analyses of conservation values were undertaken and the results presented as maps of either point locations or areas that are significant for a particular value. These forty maps are also provided as Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages with the CYPLUS data sets.

Following the completion of the individual value coverages it was possible to combine, or over lay them all to determine the total area of conservation significance. Places of conservation significance were essentially determined from this aggregate layer.

Figure 19.1 was created by overlaying all of the fourty-two layers, with the exception of the wilderness quality, used in the assessment of natural conservation values. Figure 19.2 plots all of the twenty-three extensive or widespread values, including wilderness. These figures illustrate that the majority of the Peninsula (over 80% of the area) contains at least one significant value, with most areas being significant for more than one value. This reflects both the great diversity of conservation values found on the Peninsula, and the many individual values that extend over large areas. The extensive nature of conservation values is due both to the large scale of ecosystems found on the Peninsula and to the general lack of technological disturbance.

In determining areas of conservation significance large areas with no known conservation value were excluded, while boundaries between areas were drawn to equate to changes in the types of values present. The boundaries of the areas identified were particularly determined by the distribution of the more widespread conservation values such as wilderness quality, representative vegetation and some wetland and geological sites.

In total, thirty-six areas of conservation significance, covering 82% of the Peninsula, were identified. The largest area being the Holroyd Wilderness Area covering 1,676,110 hectares or just over 12% of the Peninsula. The names and size of all thirty-six areas are given in Table 19.1, while Figure 19.3 plots their distribution.

It is important to note that the identified areas reflect the general distribution of conservation values. Within the identified areas there may be relatively small areas of disturbance, where no natural conservation values are present. Similarly, there are some small site specific single value areas, such as geological type localities that lie outside the identified conservation areas. For example, as mapped in Figure 19.3, the Endeavour-Annan River natural conservation area contains Cooktown. Although significant geological and botanical sites do occur within the surveyed town area, clearly the majority of Cooktown and the surrounding agricultural land does not have natural conservation significance. The scale of mapping of Figure 19.3 can not distinguish areas like Cooktown but the GIS coverages provided to CYPLUS do.

The report has identified natural conservation values across the Peninsula, but no attempt has been made to ascertain the relative significance of individual sites on the Peninsula.

The aggregate layer of conservation significance can be interrogated to highlight the distribution of any particular value, and this can be done at any scale. However, it needs to be born in mind that the reliability of the natural conservation layers corresponds to the reliability of the raw data employed from the Natural Resource Assessment Program(NRAP) and other sources specified in this report. Thus those layers which have used the vegetation coverage of Neldner and Clarkson (1994) are reliable at the 1:250,000 scale, while faunal site records may have an accuracy only to within ten kilometres of a given point. The reliability of the major NRAP data sets used in the assessment of natural conservation value is discussed in detail in Cofinas et al (1994) and Glasco et al (1995).

Within the CYPLUS GIS it is presently possible to interrogate, for a given area, each separate coverage of conservation value. Every site record or area (polygon) within a coverage is annotated, so that by "clicking" on a particular point or polygon it can be determined what feature of significance is represented by each record i.e. what the rare animal species is recorded by a particular point record, or what rare vegetation class is recorded by a particular polygon coverage.

Currently specifications are being put together so that a program can be written to allow simultaneous searches of all forty layers of the natural conservation assessment. This will then provide a list of all the recorded conservation values of a particular area and would include a list of all endemic, biogeographically important or rare or threatened species that occur within a specified area, as well as lists of all area based values such as what rare or representative examples of vegetation classes are found within an area.

When this program has been written detailed assessment tables of each of the thirty-six areas will be provided. These tables will match the natural conservation features of an area against the assessment criteria of Table 1.1. In the interim, the major features of natural conservation value for each of the thirty-six areas is summarised below.

Table 19.1 Size and percentage of Cape York Peninsula for areas of natural conservation significance

     Name of Area                              Size      % Of Cape  
(ha)                     

       1. Lockerbie                        39895               0.29 
       2. Jardine Wilderness Area          542072              3.97 
       3. Vrilya Wilderness Area           295798              2.17 
       4. Port Musgrave Area               215441              1.58 
       5. Central-North Cape York          78799               0.58 
     Peninsula                             278867              2.04 
       6. Shelburne-Olive River Area       98094               0.72 
       7. Pennefather-Duyfken Area         298511              2.19 
       8. Wenlock Corridor                 322669              2.37 
       9. Iron Range                       73284               0.54 
     10. Mission River Area                66825               0.49 
     11. Embley Range Area                 187698              1.38 
     12. Hey-Embley Rivers Area            88245               0.65 
     13. Pera Head Area                    670                 0.00 
     14. Mt. White                         2685                0.02 
     15. Geike Range                       176406              1.29 
     16. Aurukun Wetlands                  1113835             8.17 
     17. Archer-Coen Area                  555472              4.07 
     18. McIlwraith-Lockhart Area          1676109            12.29 
     19. Holroyd Wilderness                139786              1.03 
     20. Gorge Creek and Timber Reserve    697393              5.12 
     21. Lakefield                         643236              4.72 
     22. Starke Area                       66368               0.49 
     23. Cape Flattery-Cape Bedford        572613              4.20 
     24. Mitchell Delta                    1302715             9.55 
     25. Upper Alice-Coleman               433337              3.18 
     26. Golden-shouldered Parrot Habitat  174109              1.28 
     27. Kimba Plateau                     53966               0.40 
     28. North Kennedy River Area          44034               0.33 
     29. Red Bluff Area                    220368              1.62 
     30. Deighton - Normanby Area          6995                0.05 
     31. Isabella Falls Area               160272              1.18 
     32. Endeavour-Annan Area              188385              1.39 
     33. Palmer-King River Area            291737              2.14 
     34. Quinkan Area                      81571               0.60 
     35. Wet Tropics                       28810               0.21 
     36. Mitchell-Palmer Karst                                      


19.2 Areas of Conservation Significance - summary of values

19.2.1 Lockerbie

The Lockerbie Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.2 Jardine Wilderness Area

The Jardine Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.3 Vrilya Wilderness Area

The Vrilya Wilderness Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.4 Port Musgrave Area

The Port Musgrave Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.5 Central-North Cape York Peninsula

The Central-North Cape York Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.6 Shelburne-Olive River Area

The Shelburne-Olive River Area has natural conservation significance because:

16.2.7 Pennefather-Duyfken Area

The Pennefather-Duyfken Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.8 Wenlock Corridor Area

The Wenlock Corridor Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.9 Iron Range

The Iron Range has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.10 Mission River Area

The Mission River Area has natural conservation significance because:

  1. 70% of the area is of very high wilderness quality; and
  2. representative vegetation in the area includes Eucalyptus tetrodonta woodlands on erosional surfaces or on lower slopes.

19.2.11 Embley Range

The Embley Range Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.12 Hey-Embley Rivers Area

The Hey-Embley Rivers Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.13 Pera Head Area

The Pera Head Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.14 Mt White

The Mt White Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.15 Geike Range

The Geike Range Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.16 Aurukun Wetlands

The Aurukun Wetlands has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.17 Archer-Coen Area

The Archer-Coen Area has natural conservation significance because:

19,2,18 McIlwraith - Lockhart Area

The McIlwraith - Lockhart Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.19 Holroyd Wilderness Area

The Holroyd Wilderness has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.20 The Gorge Creek Area and Timber Reserve

The Gorge Creek Area and Timber Reserve Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.21 Lakefield

The Lakefield Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.22 Starke Area

The Starke Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.23 Cape Flattery-Cape Bedford

The Cape Flattery-Cape Bedford Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.24 Mitchell Delta

The Mitchell Delta Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.25 Upper Alice-Coleman

The Upper Alice-Coleman Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.26 Golden-shouldered Parrot Habitat

The Golden-shouldered Parrot Habitat Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.27 Kimba Plateau

The Kimba Plateau Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.28 North Kennedy Area

The North Kennedy Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.29 Red Bluff

The Red Bluff Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.30 Deighton-Normanby Area

The Deighton-Normanby Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.31 Isabella Falls Area

The Isabella Falls Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.32 Endeavour-Annan River Area

The Endeavour-Annan River Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.33 Palmer-King Rivers Area

The Palmer-King Rivers Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.34 Quinkan

The Quinkan Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.35. Wet Tropics

The Wet Tropics Area has natural conservation significance because:

19.2.36 Mitchell - Palmer Karst and Palmer River Crossing

The Mitchell - Palmer Karst and Palmer River Crossing area has natural conservation significance because: