Biodiversity publications archive

Refugia for biological diversity in arid and semi-arid Australia

Biodiversity Series, Paper No. 4
S.R. Morton, J. Short and R.D. Barker, with an Appendix by G.F. Griffin and G. Pearce
Biodiversity Unit
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995

10. Refugia in Western Australia (continued)

10.14. Reference number WA14

Refuge area: Dragon Tree Soak

Biogeographic region: Great Sandy Desert

Type of refuge: Wetland

Lat./Long. 19°40’S / 123°22’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (1)

Area (km²): <100

Chief refuge value

Habitat and drought refuge for birds.

General description

Dragon Tree Soak is a swamp with bullrush Typha domingensis and dragon tree Sesbania formosa. It includes a freshwater spring, a permanent freshwater marsh and peatland4. It has an area of 5 ha (main water area: 1 ha). It forms an oasis supporting plants and animals that are absent or scarce elsewhere in the desert.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

None identified

Relict species

Typha domingensis (bullrush) and Sesbania formosa (dragon tree).

Other significant species

Birds that are not otherwise present in desert are Australian crake Porzana fluminea, clamorous reed-warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus, and pheasant coucal Centropus phasianinus ; a frog Cyclorana australis; the lesser long-eared bat Nyctophilus geoffroyi and the flying fox Pteropus scapulatus4.

Key threats

Camels are damaging wetland areas; possibly too-frequent fires4.

Land tenure

Dragon Tree Soak Nature Reserve. A larger reserve of 290,000 ha has been proposed, which will include the Soak and the nearby McLarty Hills5.

Key references

1. Burbidge and McKenzie (1983)

2. Start and Fuller (in Burbidge and McKenzie 1983)

3. Lane and McComb (1988)

4. Jaensch and Lane (1993)

5. Burbidge et al. (1991)