Appendix 5 - Island Flora and Fauna

These non-marine species occur on continental islands and coral cays in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Most islands and cays are outside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and many are Queensland National Parks. Management is primarily the role of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) through the day-to-day management program.

Landscape format / wide-angle shot /Seaward zone of Rhizophora mangroves with prop and aerial roots in shallow, sandy floored waters of Lizard Island

Island Flora                    

Knowledge

Conservation status

  • More than 70 Great Barrier Reef island plant species are listed as rare or threatened under Queensland and Commonwealth legislation and in the IUCN Red Data Book (Table 3).

Human Related Threats

  • Coastal development
  • Controlled fire regimes (e.g. remnant patch of Hoop Pine on Lizard Island; Lucas et al. 1997)
  • Introduced plant species: 15% of species found in the northern Great Barrier Reef, 55% in the southern Great Barrier Reef (Wachenfeld 1998).
  • Pollution
  • Tourism

Actions

  • Queensland Parks and Wildife Service are responsible for the day-to-day management of Island National Parks in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA)
  • The GBRMPA’s Species Conservation Program keeps a watching brief on information published about GBRWHA terrestrial flora and works with the day-to-day management Unit.

Landscape format / close-up shot / side on view of a fluffy white Heron chick sitting in nest of twigsIsland Fauna                    

Knowledge

  • The Australian Faunal Directory of the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) serves as a source of taxonomic and biological information on all species known to occur in Australia. Refer to the tables titled ‘Estimated Numbers of the Australian Fauna’ and ‘Details of Taxa Databased’.
  • Refer to The Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (Lucas et al. 1997) as follows for summaries relating to the Great Barrier Reef:
    • Amphibians: At least seven species of frogs are known from the Great Barrier Reef  World Heritage Area (GBRWHA), although the actual number is probably higher.
    • Butterflies(p.121): 118 species in the GBRWHA– 2 endemic subspecies; this represents 30% of all known species in Australia; several rare or little-known species occur.
    • Other invertebrates(Mather and Bennett 1993): Studies have found the invertebrates on Great Barrier Reef coral cays and continental islands include: pseudoscorpions, mites, spiders, centipedes, isopods and 36 families of insects in ten orders. However many taxa have not been identified and there have been few systematic surveys.
    • Mammals: Proserpine rock wallaby (Petrogale persephone) (p.182). Known only from Proserpine area and a few offshore islands in the Whitsundays. Queensland Parks and Wildife Service (QPWS) have been studying the Proserpine rock wallaby for several years. Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), echidnas, possums, water rats and fruit bats are also known from islands in the GBRWHA.
    • Reptiles(p.124, Mather and Bennett 1993): Nine snake and 31 lizard species are known from islands/cays of the GBRWHA; species richness decreases with increasing latitude and increasing distance from the mainland. Snake species include: amethystine python (Morelia amethistina), death adder (Acanthophis sp.), a blind snake (Ramphotyphlops polygrammicus), two tree snakes (Brown tree snake - Boiga irregularis, Common tree snake - Dendrelaphis punctulata), slaty-grey snake (Stegonotus cucullatus), yellow-faced whip snake (Demansia psammophis), collared whip snake (D. torquata), brown headed snake (Furina tristis) and an undescribed Cacophis sp. Lizards include six species of gecko, one legless lizard, two goannas and 22 species of skinks. However many taxa have not been identified and there have been few systematic surveys.
  • Refer also to page 57, of State of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area 1998 (Wachenfeld 1998).

Conservation status

Human Related Threats

  • Coastal development
  • Invasive species
  • Pollution
  • Tourism

Actions

  • Queensland Parks and Wildife Service are responsible for the day-to-day management of island National Parks in the GBRWHA.
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Species Conservation Program keeps a watching brief on information published about GBRWHA island fauna and works with the day-to-day management unit.
  • Captive-bred Proserpine rock wallabies from QPWS in Townsville have since 1998 been successfully released onto Hayman Island (as part of their recovery plan) where breeding has continued. Further actions of the recovery plan include habitat mapping and protection, roadside reflectors and monitoring of colony sites. The recovery plan for Proserpine rock wallaby is available from the following website: http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/

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