Report – EV5209 – Portfolio of Protected Areas

    EV5209, 2001-03-09

    Portfolio of Protected Areas From all Over the Globe


    Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve – 1983

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: I

    Location: 46°50’N/ 54°11’W, Newfoundland, Canada

    Area of Property (Ha): 1210

    Owner: Commonwealth of Canada

    Management agency responsible: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Tourism, Culture and Recreation

    St Mary

    Biological Values: Cape St. Mary, one of six seabird ecology reserves protected by the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Park System, is one of the largest, most accessible and spectacular seabird rookeries in the world. Cape St. Mary’s supports a large colony of breeding seabirds. In all, over 30,000 breeding pairs are present. Common Murres and Black-legged Kittiwakes are the most abundant with their populations being conservatively estimated in the late 1980s at approximately 10,000 pairs each. This represents approximately 2% of the eastern North America population of Common Murres and 4 to 5% of the western Atlantic breeding population of Black- legged Kittiwakes. A large population of Northern Gannets are also present with breeding populations being estimated in the late 1980s at 5,485 pairs. This represents approximately 2% of the global population and as much as 12% of the North American population. Other seabirds nesting at Cape St. Mary’s include Thick-billed Murres, Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Great Cormorants, and Double-crested Cormorants.

    The Cape St. Mary’s area also supports large numbers of migrant seaducks (Oldsquaw, scoters, eiders), including large numbers of the eastern population of Harlequin Ducks (nationally endangered). About 30 to 40 birds are reported in some years. This may be greater than 1% of the eastern North America population of Harlequin Duck.

    Issues or Problems: In 1983, Cape St. Mary’s was established as a Provincial Ecological Reserve under the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act. The reserve is a popular tourist attraction and draws many tens of thousands of visitors each summer. During the summer months, it is staffed by provincial naturalists.

    Historically, gannet populations were severely reduced by direct human predation and more recently by the accumulation of toxic chemicals. Oil pollution, both chronic and catastrophic is also a concern, especially considering the colonies location near a major shipping route from the Hibernia oilfields to refineries and oil storage facilities in Placenta Bay. There is also a high level of shipping traffic in the area, especially in winter.

    A number of seabird studies and surveys have been conducted by researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Canadian Wildlife Service.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    Canadian Parks www.canadianparks.com/sites/cstmary/cstmary-1-1.html

    Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Tourism, Culture and Recreation

    www.gov.nf.ca/releases/1998/tcr/0429n05.htm

    Blaikfjället National Park -1988

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: I

    Location: Vilhelmina, Nothern Sweden

    Area of Property (Ha): 11.000

    Owner: Swedish Government

    Management agency responsible: Naturvårdsverket, Swedish EPA

    Blaikfjället

    Biological Values: By car, the mountain, Blaikfjället, is about 50 km from Vilhelmina. Blaikfjället is a nature reserve with trails and footbridges and signs with information on nature and the mountains. Blaikfjället is also the largest and best intermediary mountain plateau along the entire Swedish chain of mountains. It stretches 60 km toward the southeast from Gitsfjället to Sagatun and is between the Malgomaj and the Ormsjön valleys. The plateau is slightly billowing and has an average height above sea level of approximately 600 to 700 m. The loftiest areas are in the eastern part by Gäddsjöklumpen between 716 and 724 m above sea level. There are 30 000 hectares of bog on Blaikfjället, which makes it one of the most concentrated bog areas in the country. Blaikfjället has an abundance of aquatic birds such as graylags, cranes, and also waders, such as sandpipers and snipe. The rolling hills between the bogs house virgin forests and pronounced natural woodlands. Swamp forests are very common on Blaikfjället. Between one third and one half of the woodlands are various kinds of swamp forests. On the eastern slopes of Blaikfjället, there are creeks that form ravines in the alum shale where the water runs off the plateau. A pleasant outing for a day is to take a hike and enjoy the surroundings and the magnificent view of the wilderness. This is a great place to pick cloudberries.

    Issues or Problems: After 13 years of appeals, law-suits, negotiations and purchase of land for exchange and new negotiations has Naturvårdsverket (Swedish EPA) protected about 35.000 hectares on Blaikfjället northwest of Dorotea paying about 100 Million Swedish Krona (about $18 Million AUD)

    Blaikfjället is situated between the tree-line down to the lower forest regions. The long valley is pulled out 60km by the low mountain ridge between Malgomajs and Långseleåns valleies. The Spruce forests between the bog areas has been there for more than 200 years and some for more than 400 years. This has resulted in ostticka, rynkskinn and many other very rare species. The bogs attracts many different animals and this puts Blaikfjället in the highest protection category and also as a national interest of conservation.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre

    www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    Naturvårdsverket (Swedish EPA)

    www.environ.se/index.php3?main=/dokument/press/1997/april/p970410.htm

    Vilhelmina County Homepage

    www.kommun.vilhelmina.com/turism/engelska/engsevard.html

    Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park -1976

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: II

    Location: 27°56’N/ 86°48’E, Nepal

    Area of Property (Ha): 114.800

    Owner: His Majesty’s Government of Nepal

    Management agency responsible:

    Sagarmatha NP

    Biological Values:

    Vegetation in the park various from pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron woods at mid-elevations, scrub and alpine plant communities higher up, and bare rock and snow above tree line, The famed bloom of rhododendrons occurs during the spring (April and May) although much of the. flora is most colorful during the monsoon season (June to August) .

    The wild animals most likely to be seen in the park are the Himalayan tahr, goral, serow, musk deer and Himalayan black bear. Other mammals are weasels, martens. Himalayan mouse hare (Pika), jackals and languor.

    The park provides a habit for at least 118 species of birds . The most common birds to be seen are the Impeyen pheasant (the national bird of Nepal), blood pheasant, cheer pheasant, jungle crow, red billed and yellow billed coughs and snow pigeon. Fairly common birds are the Himalayan griffon, lammergier, snow partridge, skylark and other.

    Issues or Problems:

    To date, the impact of international tourism on the region has chiefly focused on environmental issues, such as deforestation and pollution, which tend to be more outwardly visible than the effects on local societies and their cultures. But as tourism to the region continues to grow – it has doubled over the past ten years to an annual two-and-a-half million visitors – tensions are beginning to emerge between the conflicting aims of international visitors and host communities, particularly at the mainly Buddhist Himalayan monasteries, temples and festivals.

    Also, there are huge problems of dealing with waste, both human and material waste.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas/data/wh/sagarmat.html

    National Park Information of Nepal

    www.viewnepal.com/nationalpark/sagarmatha.htm

    www.aahanepal.com/nationalparks/index.htm

    Shackley M., 1999, The Himalayas: masked dances and mixed blessings.(People and

    Tourism) UNESCO Courier, July-August p28(2).

    Coburn B.A. 1984, Sagarmatha: Managing a World Heritage Site. Parks 9: 10-13.

    Yellowstone National Park -1872

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: II

    Location: 44°38’N/ 110°10’W, U.S.A.

    Area of Property (Ha): 899.139

    Owner: U.S. National Park Service

    Management agency responsible: U.S. National Park Service

    Yellowstone NP

    Biological Values: Yellowstone is the first and oldest national park in the world.

    A wide variety of wildlife live in the Park including bison, elk, mule deer, black bear, grizzly bears, moose, coyotes, pelicans, eagles and many other types of animals. The buffalo is a famous symbol for Yellowstone Park. In the early 1900’s the buffalo became nearly extinct due to the hunters of the Plains. Yellowstone was the only place the buffalo could roam and be protected from the hunters. Elk can often be seen off the side of the road grazing in the grassy areas during the summer months. When is the best time to see these animals?

    As you enter Yellowstone you will notice the very large lodgepole pine trees that encompass two thirds of the Park. On the Grand Loop Road these trees are the most common species of pine tree. The elk can be easily seen living here in the summer months. The lodgepole pine provides shelter, food, and sunshine for much of the wildlife that lives here, including an abundance of wildflowers in the summer months

    Issues or Problems: Yellowstone Lake is home of the premier surviving inland cutthroat trout fishery in North America. This fishery is threatened with destruction by illegally introduced lake trout, which were discovered in 1994.

    In 1994, New Zealand mud snails Potamopyrgus antipodarum were discovered in the Madison River near the park boundary. Subsequent investigations by independent researchers have documented a rapid spread of this exotic species to the Firehole and lower Gibbon rivers. Long-term effects of this exotic species on the indigenous invertebrate fauna are unknown; however, some studies suggest that native molluscs may be reduced in abundance or eliminated entirely.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    Yellowstone National Park www.yellowstone-natl-park.com/wildlife.htm

    Yellowstone National Park www.nps.gov/yell/

    Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Yellostone National Park www.jacksonholenet.com/yellowstone

    Victoria Falls National Park -1952

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: III

    Location: 17°59’S/ 25°59’E, Zimbabwe

    Area of Property (Ha): 2.000

    Owner: Zimbabwe Government

    Management agency responsible: Historic Monument Commission

    Victoria Falls

    Biological Values: The park contains the western half of the Victoria Falls, and the Zambezi River for several kilometres below the falls. The falls are the most significant feature of the park, and when the Zambezi is in full flood (usually February or March) the falls form the largest curtain of falling water in the world (hence the African name ‘Mosi-Oa-Tunya’ – the smoke that thunders). During these months, over 500 million litres or water per minute go over the falls, which are 1708m wide, and drop 99m at Rainbow falls in Zambia. At low water in November flow can be reduced to around 10 million litres/minute, and the river is divided into a series of braided channels that descend in many seperate falls.

    Below the falls the river enters a narrow series of gorges which represent locations successively occupied by the falls earlier in their history. Since the uplifting of the Makgadikgadi Pan area some two million years ago, the Zambezi River has been cutting through the basalt, exploiting weak fissures, and forming a series of retreating gorges. Seven previous waterfalls occupied the seven gorges below the present falls, and the Devil’s Cataract in Zimbabwe is the starting point for cutting back to a new waterfall that will eventually leave the present lip high above the river in the gorge below.

    A number of large mammals are seen here, all of which occur in the Zambezi National Park. The rich avifauna (400 species in the Victoria Falls region as a whole) includes a wide range of waterbirds along the river above the falls, and birds such as Heuglin’s robin Cossypha heuglini, Knysna turaco Tauraco corythaix, and trumpeter hornbill Bycanistes bucinator in the falls ‘rainforest’ area. The Taita falcon Falco fasciinucha (scarce but widespread in eastern and central Africa) breeds in the gorges, as do black stork Ciconia nigra, black eagle Aquilla verreauxi, peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus and augur buzzard Buteo rufofuscatus augur. Victoria Falls forms a geographical barrier between the distinct fish faunas of the upper and middle Zambezi River, with fish species including breams Oreochromis mossambica, T. macrochir, T. andersoni, Serranochromis robustus, Sargochromis condringtoni, chessa Distichodus schenga, tigerfish Hydrocynus vittatus, and barbel Clarias gariepinus.

    Issues or Problems: Victoria Falls town lies next to the park and is a major visitor destination. The town and intense visitor throughput caused drainage and erosion problems, now successfully rehabilitated at considerable cost. The road, railway and low-flying aircraft cause some adverse auditory and visual impacts, although the road and railway are largely outside the park boundary except where the road and rail links between Zambia and Zimbabwe bisect the park, and then cross the river in a spectacular bridge over the second gorge (Falls Bridge). The ‘rainforest’ is vulnerable to disturbance by trampling, which allows penetration by ruderal species such as Lantana camara.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre

    www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas/data/wh/victoria.html

    Bahuaja-Sonene National Park –1996 (1977 & 1983)

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: III

    Location: 12°50’S/ 69°25’W, Peru

    Area of Property (Ha): ~330.000

    Owner: Peru Government

    Management agency responsible: The Nature Conservancy, Pro Naturaleza and INRENA

    Bahuja

    Biological Values: Located in the low tropical forests of southeastern Peru, Bahuaja-Sonene National Park protects more than 800,000 acres of some of South America’s most unspoiled wilderness. The park extends along Peru’s southern border with Bolivia. The park was established in 1996, when the Pampas del Heath National Sanctuary and part of the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone were merged to create one protected area.

    Flora and fauna in Bahuaja-Sonene are typical of the rich tropical forests of the Amazon lowlands and Andean foothills. The park contains extraordinary biodiversity and a number of endangered species. Bahuaja-Sonene’s grasslands (called “pampas”) protect 17 bird species found nowhere else in Peru and at least 28 newly registered butterflies. Other notable fauna in the area includes the giant anteater, anaconda, harpy eagle, giant armadillo, giant river otter, jaguar, marsh deer, and maned wolf. The park also produces native fruits, wild varieties of the domestic pineapple and guayaba, and the vegetation and rodent communities upon which the endangered marsh deer and maned wolf depend. The abundance of unique habitats and the almost pristine condition of the park make it a conservation priority for the Peruvian government as well as for national and international conservation organizations.

    Issues or Problems: Key threats to the environmental integrity of Bahuaja-Sonene include timber harvesting, slash and burn agriculture and the illegal hunting and extraction of protected species for consumption or trade (such as jaguars, wolves and deer). Gold mining, on a small scale, is also a threat in a few locations around the park. Such poor uses of land and other resources pose challenges to biodiversity conservation and provide unsustainable alternatives for those who depend on them.

    During the last seven years, The Nature Conservancy, Pro Naturaleza and INRENA have achieved measurable on-the-ground protection results in Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in order to conserve important forest and grassland resources. With continued financial backing, the Conservancy and Pro Naturaleza will continue collaborating with INRENA and local communities to improve natural resource management in Bahuaja-Sonene to ensure the conservation of this outstanding park. Join us in this exciting challenge to preserve one of South America’s great wilderness areas.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    The Nature Conservancy in Peru www.tnc.org/infield/intprograms/lacd/peru/bahuaja1.htm

    Selous Game Reserve -1922

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: IV

    Location: 8°46’S/ 37°25’E, Tanzania

    Area of Property (Ha): 5.000.000

    Owner: Tanzania Government

    Management agency responsible:

    Biological Values: The largest game reserve in Africa – 4 times the size of the Serengeti. It possesses a diverse landscape from hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes, channels from the Great Rhaha and Rufiji rivers. Walking is permitted (with an armed ranger) which with over 350 species of bird and 2,000 species of plants to see makes this the most heavenly sanctuary to explore.

    Selous is famous for its elephant, hippopotamus and rhino (although now few remain). The park has a broad range of game: buffalo – the largest population in Africa; Nyasaland gnu; brindled gnu; hartebeest; Greater Kudu; sable antelope; eland; reedbuck; bushbuck; waterbuck; warthog; zebras; giraffe; and wildebeest. Also: lion, leopard, the spotted hyeana and hunting dog are in abundance; cheetah are rare; there are over 350 species of bird and reptiles such as crocodiles and various snakes and lizards.

    Issues or Problems: The resident population in the area was evacuated when the reserve was established and Selous has therefore remained relatively intact. No forest exploitation has taken place and mineral exploration has as yet failed to find any valuable deposits. A serious threat is the proposed Stiegler’s Gorge Dam Project intended to harness the flood waters of the Rufiji River. Both dam and reservoir would be entirely within the reserve and cover some 44,000ha. Seismic roads for oil exploration are being built into 75% of the reserve. The main threat is increased accessibility to the area and the presence of a population within the reserve to maintain these developments. Because of the difficulties of transportation, the interior of Selous is seldom patrolled, and poaching has severely reduced the population of some species. A comprehensive set of management recommendations have been made by Stephenson (1987), but the degree of implementation is not known. According to Baldus (1989), and Leader-Williams (1996), the immediate and long-term threats to wildlife come from commercial poaching for meat and trophies, an illegal and unsustainable activity. In the early 1980’s uncontrolled poaching reduced the Selous elephant population by over 50%. The communal wildlife management schemes have started to reduce conflicts between wildlife and rural communities such as crop damage (Leader-Williams, et al., 1996). A management Plan was drawn up in 1995 as a result of the Stephenson recommendations being taken up by a joint Tanzanian-German Programme.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre

    www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas/data/wh/selous.html

    Galapagos Islands –1986 (Reserva de Recursos Marinos)

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: IV

    Location: 0°02’N/ 90°39’W, Ecuador

    Area of Property (Ha): 7.990.000

    Owner: Ecuador Government

    Management agency responsible:

    GalapagosMarine Iguana

    Biological Values: In 1959 Ecuador designated 97% of the land area of Galapagos as a national park, and then in 1986 the Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve was established, one of the world’s largest protected areas: the 133000 square kilometer. The Reserve supports some of the best known coastal fauna of Galapagos, such as the sea lion, fur seal, penguin, flightless cormorant, albatross, three species of booby and two of frigatebird, sea turtle, and the extraordinary marine iguana. Galapagos waters are also renowned for their large marine animals, notably cetaceans and sharks, some of them forming large underwater clouds. But this spectacular wildlife is just the most visible part of a complex and unique ecosystem. The marine environments and ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands are not homogeneous. This means that it is possible to find regions inhabited by a distinct composition and distribution of species, with at least three completely distinct biogeographic regions.

    Map makers baptized the archipelago as the “Insulae de los Galopagos” or “The Islands of the Tortoises”.

    Issues or Problems: The greatest threat to the biodiversity of Galapagos comes from introduced or invasive species. These benefit from the lack of natural defences of the native species and can reproduce rapidly, destroying or replacing the native species. Examples are the Black and Brown Rat which predate on young tortoises and the native Rice Rat. Plants such as Gauva and Cinchona which dominate and exclude native plants such as Miconia and Scalesia.

    In depth studies are required to produce radical plans to eliminate these introduced species. Due to the critical nature of the situation in places such as Alcedo Volcano on Isabela, where an estimated 80,000 goats are threatening the unique flora and the survival of the largest population of giant tortoises in Galapagos, immediate action is required.

    “Given the quantity of fuel spilled, the impacts could have been far worse. Galapagos wildlife appears to have had a lucky escape, mainly as a result of the currents and winds, which carried the diesel and bunker fuel away from San Cristóbal Island, where the Jessica ran aground, into deeper, offshore waters.”

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    Galapagos Island Ecology: tortoises http://ak.essortment.com/galapagosisland_rfuf.htm

    Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands www.darwinfoundation.org/oilspill.html

    Galapagos Conservation Trust www.gct.org/index2.html

    Ross Lake National Recreation Area -1968

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: V

    Location: Washington State, U.S.A.

    Area of Property (Ha): 117,574

    Owner: U.S. National Park Service

    Management agency responsible: U.S. National Park Service

    Ross Lake

    Biological Values: The North Cascades National Park Service Complex contains more glaciers than any other national park in the United States outside Alaska. The North Cascades Ecosystem has over half the glaciers in the lower 48 states. These glaciers are an important source of water for salmon, other wildlife, plants, and people in the Puget Sound region.

    The Complex, which adjoins public lands preserved in Canada, is the core of one of the largest protected wild areas in the United States; a substantial portion of it is designated Wilderness.

    Ross Lake National Recreation Area includes a hydroelectric complex with its attendant facilities producing 25% of Seattle’s electricity.

    The Complex includes 75 eligible with 59 listed National Register structures or sites, 3 Historic Districts, and over 250 archeological sites. It was home to at least 4 tribes whose descendants now live nearby and includes, within its boundaries, three contemporary communities.

    Issues or Problems: A purposed mining action is considered in the area, where the ore is planned to be taken out via helicopter. Because the helicopter operation could occur early in the summer it could adversely affect the following mammal species: Gray wolf, Grizzly bear, Fisher, Wolverine, and Lynx. The operation could affect but is not likely to adversely affect bird species. No impacts to amphibians or fish are expected.

    Short-term, noise would likely be the most significant impact from this operation. Although flight paths would be designated to avoid popular visitor use areas, the helicopter operation would likely be noticeable in Thunder Basin, along portions of the Fisher Creek Trail and especially in the vicinity of Easy Pass. Since the helicopter would be flying at 100 to 120 miles per hour any particular spot along the flight route would be impacted for a very short time. However, under good conditions a round trip could be accomplished in approximately 25 minutes. Routing helicopters away from the more popular visitor use areas could impact people using the more remote wilderness areas between the Thunder Creek Mines and Easy Pass. Visitors to the park would be advised of the planned operation.

    Impact on surrounding public land and resources and on visitor use could be significant because timing of the operation could occur early in the summer as soon at the property was snow-free. This would increase potential impacts because:

    • Early in the season young wildlife would be more likely to be severely impacted by helicopter noise;
    • The majority of the visitor use in the area occurs prior to Labor Day.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    U.S. National Park Service www.nps.gov/noca/thundercreekea.htm

    Stora Sjöfallet National Park -1909

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: V

    Location: 67°40’N/ 18°00’E

    Area of Property (Ha): 127.800

    Owner: Swedish Government

    Management agency responsible: Naturvårdsverket (Swedish EPA)

    Stora Sjöfallet

    Biological Values: The mountain areas around Stora Sjöfallet are very varied, with alpine ranges and low ridges, flat high plains and deeply carved valleys. The Akkajaure lake, which was broken out of the park to allow the construction of a hydroelectric power station, divides the area in two. The southern part is dominated by the Akka mountain, called the Queen of Lapland. The northern part contains the mountain Kallaktjåkkå, the northern side of which faces towards the deep, narrow Teusadalen valley. The great differences in height in the park mean that there are several different types of vegetation: virgin forest, mountain birch forest, bare mountain and boulder fields. Stora Sjöfallet’s famous waterfall nowadays has very little water on account of hydroelectric power. The lime-poor rock means that the vegetation is poor in most parts of the park. The construction of a hydroelectric power station has had negative effects on animal life. Stora Sjöfallet’s most prominent sights are the peaks and glaciers of the Akka range, the virgin pine forest at Vietas, the magnificent Teusadalen valley, the Kierkau cliffs and the Ahutjukårså rock ravine.

    Issues or Problems: The park got its name after its magnificent waterfall (Large Seafall National Park) which had five levels that Large Lule River once had here. Then this was the largest waterfall in Europe. But that was before the time of hydroelectric power. The area became a national park as early as 1909 but this has not prevented politicians to allow exploitation of the rivers by building hydroelectric plants in stages. The whole exploitation is a scandal for Swedish nature conservation. Environmental organisations even demanded that the area would get its National Park status repealed so the government would feel the shame.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    Swedish Environment Protection Agency www.environ.se:8084/index.php3?main=/documents/nature/engpark/eparkdoc/estoras.htm

    Stora Sjöfallet www.techtalk.se/NATIONALPARK/Stora_Sjofallet.html

    Raine Island -1979

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: Ia

    Location: 11° 36’S, 144° 01’E

    Area of Property (Ha): 32

    Owner: Commonwealth of Australia

    Management agency responsible: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

    Raine Island

    Biological Values: Raine Island, as a detached section of the edge of Queensland’s continental shelf and in the middle of a major reef passage, is unusual along the Great Barrier Reef. Its associated reef supports rich and diverse coral communities which show a greater affinity to those of the Coral Sea reefs than to those of the Great Barrier Reef (Lassig et al. 1993).

    Raine Island is a vegetated coral cay dominated by low herbaceous annual vegetation (Batianoff et al. 1993). The cay is comprised of a central core of phosphate rock surrounded by sand and extensive fringing reefs.

    The island holds special significance as a seabird breeding and roosting site. It is considered as the most significant tropical seabird breeding site in the Great Barrier Reef (Taplin and Blaber 1993). The central core of phosphate rock forms a small cliff above the beaches of the cay, producing rock ledges used by Red-tailed Tropicbirds (Phaethon rubricauda) as nest sites. Behind the cliff is a vegetated ridge frequented by nesting Brown (Sula leucogaster) and Red-footed (Sula sula) Boobys. The island was extensively mined for guano in the 1880s, leaving a shallow depression in the centre of the cay, providing nesting sites for the Lesser Frigatebirds (Fregata ariel) and Masked Boobys (Sula dactylatra).

    Raine Island, and nearby Moulter Cay, are also the principal nesting sites of the largest breeding population of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the world (Limpus et al. 1993). During the peak nesting period an estimated 4000 turtles have been known to come ashore each night to lay their eggs.

    In a report on the biological and heritage values, commissioned by the Raine Island Corporation, Claridge (1995) states ‘More than sixty separate values have been identified. It is highly unlikely that any comparable area in the Great Barrier Reef region, or even in Australia overall, could match the number and breadth of values associated with Raine Island and its environs.’

    As turtles and seabirds are ground-nesting and easily disturbed by people, access to Raine Island and Moulter and Maclennan Cays is restricted and usually limited to those involved in specific conservation and management research.

    Issues or Problems: To preserve the biological and cultural value of Raine Island, and to minimise the disturbance to the resident population of turtles and seabirds, tourism is not permitted on the Island. Raine Island Corporation administers applications for visitation and permits must be gained before visiting Raine Island, Moulter or Maclennan Cays.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    Raine Island Introduction www.env.qld.gov.au/environment/science/raineisland/introduction.html

    Reef Research: Volume 6 No.1 March 1996 www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/info_services/publications/reef_research/issue1_96/1raine.html

    Hinchinbrook Island National Park -1932

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: II

    Location: 18°22’S/146°15’E

    Area of Property (Ha): 114.800

    Owner: Queensland State Government

    Management agency responsible: QPWS

    Hinchinbrook Island

    Biological Values: The Hinchinbrook region, situated to the south of Cardwell (approximately halfway between Townsville and Cairns in North Queensland), is renowned for its outstanding natural values and spectacular scenic beauty. Situated at the junction of the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef (GBR) World Heritage Areas, Hinchinbrook Island and Hinchinbrook Channel were protected as World Heritage in 1981 because of the unique landscape and seascape, the extraordinary diversity of animal and plant life and the vast number of rare species that inhabit their surrounds.

    The Hinchinbrook region is a very special and unique place. Hinchinbrook Island is one of the last tropical wilderness islands left in Australia. Hinchinbrook Channel is a known home for numerous endangered marine species including the dugong, the Irrawaddy dolphin and the green turtle. It also possesses the most extensive stand of mangroves in any National Park in Australia. Mangroves are very important ecologically as they function in stabilising the foreshore and also provide a vital breeding ground and nursery for many fisheries. The mangrove forests at Hinchinbrook also house

    a healthy crocodile community. On the mainland surrounding the Channel, many other endangered species have been sighted including the Mahogany Glider, the Torresian Pigeon and the Beachstone Curlew. Together, the marine and shoreline communities provide a rare opportunity for conserving an extensive set of ecosystem types.

    Issues or Problems: The outstanding Hinchinbrook region is obviously an area that deserves maximum protection from inappropriate development. This protection has not always been forthcoming. Keith Williams’ Port Hinchinbrook development at Oyster Point is one such development. It has been allowed to proceed in one of the most spectacular natural areas of Australia despite the serious ongoing environmental risks it poses to the surrounding area.

    Situated at Oyster Point, which lies directly adjacent to the World Heritage Hinchinbrook Channel, Port Hinchinbrook is being marketed as ‘a comprehensive integrated resort’. The developer claims that what this means is ‘a desirable mixture of …hotel/motel complex, residential precincts, shopping centre and extensive recreational facilities’.

    So what was once to have been an inappropriate mega-resort development at Oyster Point has now become primarily an equally inappropriate real estate subdivision, the centrepiece being a 250-berth marina. This development is a disaster that the Senate Inquiry into the Hinchinbrook Channel has labelled a ‘tragedy of errors’. The Senate Report indicated what conservationists have been arguing since the development’s inception – namely, that successive governments have failed to ensure that the development has been subjected to adequate assessments on either economic or environmental grounds, and that Port Hinchinbrook poses serious ongoing environmental risks.

    Literature cited:

    Hinchinbrook Island Ferries www.hinchinbrookferries.com.au/animal.html

    Hinchinbrook Island Resort www.hinchinbrookresort.com.au/island.htm

    The Wilderness Society www.wilderness.org.au/member/tws/projects/Hinchinbrook/hinch9912.html

    Boorabbin National Park -1977

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: III

    Location: 31°13’S/120°10’E

    Area of Property (Ha): 26.000

    Owner: Western Australia State Government

    Management agency responsible: Department of Conservation and Land Management

    Boorabin

    Biological Values: Boorabin National Park protects 26,000 hectres of south-west vegetation growing on the eastern edge of its distribution and has a very rich suite of reptiles and small mammals.

    The park lies along the Great Eastern Highway, halfway between Southern Cross and Coolgardie, in Western Australia’s eastern Goldfields. It takes its name from the former Boorabbin townsite, a settlement established in 1898 to provide water for steam locomotives going to and from the Goldfields. Boorabbin is the Aboriginal name of a rock on the edge of the park.

    The national park occupies a plateau between landscapes which drain both north and south (it was this circumstance that probably determined the route of the highway). The plateau carries a distinctive sandplain vegetation, growing in deep sands that were produced by erosion during the Tertiary period, some 50 million years ago. During the Tertiary there was a much wetter climate, and the ancient Archean land surface, called the Yilgarn Shield, was eroding at a faster rate than it is today. As a result, the sands are highly weathered, leached and deficient in nutrients.

    In spite of this, the sandplain vegetation is surprisingly diverse. At Boorabbin the species-rich kwongan heaths of south-western Australia reach their easterly limit. John Beard, a botanist who conducted a major vegetation survey of Western Australia, recognised the distinctness of the plateau’s vegetation by naming it the ‘Boorabbin Plateau’ vegetation system. Woodlands and mallee shrublands also occur in Boorabbin National Park, in association with either granite outcrops or the upper reaches of ancient drainage lines.

    Wildflowers of Boorabin

    Showy wildflowers which can be seen from the highway include flame grevillea (Grevillea eriostachya), grass leaf hakea (Hakea multilineata) and Roe’s featherflower (Verticordia roei).

    The three semi-arid banksia species: swordfish banksia (Banksia elderiana), inland banksia (Banksia audax) and Lullfitz’s banksia (Banksia lullfitzii) are all present in the kwongan, and the latter is a rare plant.

    Issues or Problems: The woodlands have regrown after being cut for fuel, to power the Mundaring to Kalgoorlie water pipeline number eight pumping station, in the early 1900s. The most conspicuous are salmon gum (Eucalyptus salmonophloia), gimlet (E. salubris), redwood (E. transcontinentalis), red morrell (Eucalyptus longicornis) and ribbon-barked gum (E. sheathiana). These woodlands grow in broad valleys, the upper reaches of former drainage lines which have been filled in by alluvial (deposited by flowing water) or colluvial deposits (accumulation of unconsolidated material at the bottom of a cliff or slope). Unlike the Tertiary sandplains, these valleys are relatively ‘new’ environments (less than two million years old). As they are low in the landscape, they accumulate nutrients from elsewhere and develop relatively rich, reddish-brown loam soils, which support the larger woodlands.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    Boorabin National Park www.calm.wa.gov.au/national_parks/previous_parks_month/boorabin.html

    Fraser Island Wetland Reserve -1983

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: IV

    Location: 24° 35′-26° 20’S, 152° 45′-153° 30’E

    Area of Property (Ha): 166.283

    Owner: Queensland State Government, Private and Commonwealth of Australia

    Management agency responsible: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service

    Lake Mc Kenzie

    Biological Values: Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. The combination of rain forests growing on tall sand dunes is believed to be a globally unique ecosystem. The array of dune lakes is exceptional in terms of number, diversity and age and the evidence they provide of dynamic development.

    The native plant communities support a significantly diverse fauna, due to the variety and specialisation of a large number of habitats, although diversity within habitats is low. Few species are endemic to the sandy coastal heath areas.

    Fraser Island is rich in reptile fauna and harbours a large number of specialised sand dwelling reduced limb skinks including a possible new genus, tentatively known as the Fraser Island Skink. Populations of acid frogs such as Wallum froglet Crinia tinnula, Cooloola sedgefrog Litoria cooloolensis, Wallum rocketfrog L. freycineti and Wallum sedgefrog L. olongburensis occur, as do breeding colonies of loggerhead turtle Caretta Caretta (EN) and green turtle Chelonia mydas (EN). The island has nationally important populations of fish honey blue-eye Pseudomugil mellis (EN) and Oxleyan pygmy perch Nannoperca oxleyana (EN).

    Aboriginal people are thought to have first occupied the region about 40,000 years ago. The earliest date for the occupation of Fraser Island is currently 1,500-2,000 years, although it is possible that further archaeological work may reveal evidence of earlier occupation. Four main groups of Aborigines dominated the Great Sandy region before the arrival of Europeans. Visible remains of Aboriginal settlement include middens, canoe and gunyah trees, and a few other markings such as scars where bees nests have been removed. Although examination of the archaeological potential of the region has been restricted, a number of sites have been located, particularly adjacent to the eastern shore. Over 200 shell middens have been found on Fraser Island

    Issues or Problems: There is growing concern over contamination of the freshwater lens beneath the island due to the spread of anthropogenic pathogens. Signs of eutrophication are appearing in Ocean Lake and Lake Wobby. Water quality monitoring is now being undertaken as part of a broader monitoring programme (Hocking, n.d.). There has also been a majot die back of seagrass beds in Hervey Beds due to floding and siltation. Dugongs have become very scarce in area. Overfishing by commercial bottom trawlers has been indicated in the same area. Sewage and pesticide pollution is a growing management problem in the Kingfisher Bay area.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre

    www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas/data/wh/fraser.html

    Great Barrier Reef Marine Park -1979

    Stefan Mårtensson, 2001

    IUCN Category: V

    Location: 17°30’S/147°00’E

    Area of Property (Ha): 34.380.000

    Owner: Commonwealth of Australia

    Management agency responsible: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

    Great Barrier Reef

    Biological Values: Includes the world’s most extensive stretch of coral reef. The reef system, extending to Papua New Guinea, comprises some 3,400 individual reefs, including 760 fringing reefs, which range in size from under 1ha to over 10,000ha and vary in shape to provide the most spectacular marine scenery on earth. There are approximately 300 coral cays, including 213 unvegetated cays, 43 vegetated cays and 44 low wooded islands. There are also 618 continental islands which were once part of the mainland.

    There are over 1,500 species of fish, 400 species of coral, 4,000 species of mollusc and 242 species of bird within the park, plus a great diversity of sponges, anemones, marine worms and crustaceans. The site includes major feeding grounds for dugong Dugong dugon (V). Several cetaceans are present, including humpback whale Megaptera novaengliae (E), minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata and killer whale Orcinus orca. Dolphins include bottle nose Tursiops truncatus, Irrawaddy Orcaella brevirotris (K) and Indo-Pacific humpback Sousa chinensis. Offshore, spinner dolphin Stennella longirostris is also occasionally seen. There are nesting grounds of world significance for green turtle Chelonia mydas (E) and loggerhead Caretta caretta (V), and habitat for four other species of marine turtle.

    The Great Barrier Reef is an area of remarkable biological diversity and beauty on the north-eastern coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with some 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It is an area of great scientific value and also provides a habitat for many threatened species including green turtle and dugong.

    Issues or Problems: Run-off from agriculture, anchor damage from heavy use areas, commercial prawn-trawling and some other fishing, litter around popular moorings are just some problems GBRMPA are faced with.

    Literature cited:

    World Conservation Monitoring Centre

    www.wcmc.org.uk/data/database/un_combo.html

    www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas/data/wh/gbrmp.html

    Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service

    www.env.qld.gov.au/environment/coast/reef/atmp.html

    Queensland Holidays

    www.queensland-holidays.com.au/pfm/sites/0001359/body.htm

    Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority www.gbrmpa.gov.au

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