Vertebrate fauna survey of the Desert Uplands Bioregion: interim final report(data)

Kutt, A.S. (1999) Vertebrate fauna survey of the Desert Uplands Bioregion: interim final report(data). Report. James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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[Extract] The distribution and abundance of regional fauna assemblages and across the wet-dry tropical savannas in northern Australia have, until recently, been subject to little investigation (Bowman 1991). In the Northern Territory and Western Australia this neglect has been addressed via a large number of bioregional, habitat-based and species-based surveys (e.g. Kakadu National Park, Woinarski et al. 1992; Woinarski and Gambold 1992; monsoon rainforests Menkhorst and Woinarski 1992; Gambold and Woinarski 1992; lancewood communities, Woinarski and Fisher 1995; the Kimberleys, McKenzie et al. 1991a; reptiles, birds and mammals, Woinarski 1992; birds Whitehead et al. 1992).

In northern Queensland, the situation is quite different. The has been an overt emphasis on areas perceived to be of special value, such as the as the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (Keto and Scot 1986; Nix and Switzer 1991; Williams et al. 1996) and Cape York Peninsula (see references in Abrahams et al. 1995). Though this focus is somewhat justified due these regions' biogeographic significance and associated high levels of diversity and fauna endemism, it has been at the expense of larger dry tropical areas in the northern and western of Queensland (e.g. Channel Country, Mitchell Grass Downs, Brigalow Belt, Gulf Plains), which are arguably under greater threat via poor land management. The recent rapid expansion of tree-clearing and conservation planning pressures has highlighted the lack of basic natural resource data for these regions (DEST 1995). The requirement for detailed fauna information and subsequent accurate conservation planning is currently being addressed for forested areas of Queensland, as part of the National Forest Policy Regional Forests Assessment process (McFarland 1998a, b), and for Queensland as a whole via bioregional planning (Sattler and Williams 1999).

Sattler and Williams (1999) have developed a systematic and hierarchical approach to biodiversity description and conservation planning in Queensland, using regional ecosystems as the primary surrogate. Regional ecosystems combine three major biotic and abiotic attributes; bioregions (landscape patterns); land zone (geology, soils); and vegetation. These large scale landscape features have been shown to correlate with species compositions and gradients and were therefore considered that combined, would provide a robust descriptive unit for biodiversity conservation planning (Sattler and Williams 1999). There is recognition though, that this system may not address the specific needs of many species and communities, in particular vertebrate fauna (Sattler and Williams 1999). Previous studies have shown that planning reserve systems on the basis of vegetation, land systems or scenic features may provide a convenient and aesthetic means of identifying potential reserves, but cannot guarantee adequate faunal representation (Margules et al. 1991; Pressy 1994). Woinarski (1992) indicated that at least 25% of the known fauna species from north-western Australia were unrepresented in the existing reserve network. Regional fauna and integrated studies are therefore vital for maximising representation and diversity of biota in reserve systems (see Eyre et al. 1997) and primary data collection and collation via regional surveys are an important step in this planning process.

Item ID: 36927
Item Type: Report (Report)
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Prepared for the Australian Heritage Commission. Report No. 99/21

Funders: Australian Heritage Commission
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2016 00:04
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 100%
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