Dry Tropics Biodiversity Group Inc.

(inform, educate, enthuse, implement)


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About Townsville Region Plants, more detail | back to Hot Spots |
By Russell Cuming and Doug Silke

The Townsville area is internationally and locally well known for it's bird diversity. The less well known but parallel plant diversity can now be better demonstrated, and it occurs for the same reasons. This diversity results from the wide-ranging habitats in the area: from long coastlines, dry rainshadow areas that grade into really quite wet areas halfway to Ingham with it's "Cairns like" climate. Within all of these rainfall zones the altitude varies from lowlands to uplands, with occasional wetter highlands to 1000m. Vegetation types vary from low dry vine thicket closed forest to very tall full-on-rainforest, from expanses of mangroves and saline flats, grasslands, sparse woodlands right through to very tall Bluegum forests. Extensive wetlands cover the full gamut from permanently wet to strongly seasonal, from brackish to fresh water.

Hot Spots would not have been possible without work by Russell Cumming. His efforts were inspired by the "Naturesearch" volunteer based program. Credit for this largely volunteer effort must go to Russell for years of effort, for his identification ability and persistence. The nature of this work required many submissions to the Queensland Herbarium for identification, but no observations directly taken from herbarium records are included here. This publication in fact represents only a small part of the information he has collected.

Species introduced from outside Queensland and found naturalized in our area parallels the whole of the state figures at 11%. However fully 20% of species found in Victoria and NSW are exotic. The lower ratio in Queensland is not necessarily a good indicator of the amount of harm/benefit caused by exotics to the natural environment/economy.

As indicated before, this publication independently confirms 841 and adds another 705 species. Those species (Jackes1987, Jackes 1991, Bean 1992) not confirmed by the recent work are still included in this list. Leakage from the surveys by the others from outside the Townsville/Thuringowa area included in this work and will account for some of those species not confirmed.

Local Plant Hot Spots: more detail | back to Hot Spots |

It is hoped that publication of "Hot Spots" data will assist those keen to learn how to identify many species and their vegetation types reliably without recourse to the often unavailable "experts". The lists show where to find the species described in books. Of course those species not in books are there too, but they are a bit more difficult. Although valuable and effective, these lists are not presumed to appeal to the masses.

About 30% of the species at any "Wild Plant Hot Spot Area" are so far not recorded at any of the other "Wild Plant Hot Spots Areas". Except 65% of the Paluma's granite hills list are not recorded at any other, and 95% of the Paluma rainforest listed species are likewise so far unique.

However, if you can follow my figures, fully 70% of all the "Wild Plant Hot Spot" listed species are only seen at one of the eight locations (figures do not include Rangeview Ranch), the other 30% make up the bulk of the lists.

Future lists proposed: Over a number of years it is intended to treat a wider range of vegetation types and other popular locations similarly. Perhaps even one three hour walk, but don't hold your breath.

The Authors | back to Hot Spots |

Hot spot species were recorded and lists assembled by Doug Silke, identified mostly by Russell Cumming.

Accuracy | back to Hot Spots |

Inaccuracies will be found in "tree/shrub" plant form field, and in the common name fields.

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