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

7. Foci of biological diversity in Queensland (continued)

7.2. Desert Uplands


68,816 km².

Primary land-use

Cattle grazing

National Parks and Nature Reserves

White Mountains National Park.

Management problems

Land degradation due to over-grazing, particularly in the catchments of Lakes Galilee and Buchanan; local infestations of the weed Parkinsonia aculeata (Cummings et al. 1993).

ANZECC-listed species

Plants: Thomas and McDonald (1989) listed Acacia ramiflora (V). Lawrencia buchanensis (V) appears confined to Lake Buchanan.

Species that are regionally endemic

The skink Ctenotus capricorni (Cogger 1992).

Relict populations

No information.

Other significant populations

The spectacled hare-wallaby Lagorchestes conspicillatus occurs uncommonly across the Region (Johnson and Lyon 1985). Among birds, the squatter pigeon Geophaps scripta scripta is of conservation concern (Garnett 1992, pp. 62-3).

The plants Desmodium macrocarpum, Leptosema chapmani and Acacia gnidium were listed by Thomas and McDonald (1989) as rare or threatened.


Two major wetlands lie to the south-east of Hughenden (Blackman et al. 1993).

Lake Buchanan: Lake Buchanan fills from the closed drainage basin surrounding the lake. The lake dries seasonally and is surrounded by small areas of swamp and other small lakes. The major habitats are dry saline flats which are seasonally flooded, freshwater swamps and other smaller brackish water lakes, samphire associations, and sandy beach supporting a woodland dominated by Grevillea striata, Grevillea parallela, Acacia salicina and Acacia bidwillii. This swamp is an important breeding site for a range of waterbirds. The rare and threatened Lawrencia buchananensis occurs on the west beach of the Lake.

Lake Galilee: The lake has a similar range of habitats to Lake Buchanan but is less salty. It is reported to have large numbers of breeding waterbirds at times.


Lake Buchanan and Lake Galilee are listed jointly as a refuge (see section 13.3).