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Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy

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Areas of Conservation Significance on Cape York Peninsula

Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy
Abrahams, H., Mulvaney, M., Glasco, D., & Bugg, A.
Office of the Co-ordinator General of Queensland
Australian Heritage Commission, March 1995


Areas of Conservation Significance on Cape York Peninsula

5.0 Areas of Vegetation Community Richness

Under sub-criterion A3 (Importance for exhibiting unusual richness or diversity of flora, fauna, landscapes or cultural features), an assessment was made to determine those areas of the Peninsula exhibiting a richness of vegetation communities.

The Neldner and Clarkson (1994) 1:250,000 vegetation coverage was the base data set for this analysis. The method employed was to overlay first a 6 minute then a 10 minute grid cell over the vegetation community mapping and determine the number of discrete vegetation communities within each grid cell. The analysis considered only the dominant vegetation community as mapped (refer to discussion on proportions in the mapping in the Rare or Uncommon Vegetation Communities section of this report).

The analysis was undertaken at both the 6 and 10 minute grid cell levels to test the sensitivity of the analysis. The scale of mapping itself is a key determinant of the result. Figures 5.1 & 5.2 together illustrate that essentially the same areas are identified independent of scale of analysis. Either of these analyses provides a broad landscape scale interpretation of the vegetation community richness.

The thresholds for a number of classes used in each plot were determined according to data-driven breaks in the frequency distributions. In effect categories of high, medium and low appropriate to each grid cell size have been determined and plotted.

5.1 Discussion

The areas of particular note in this analysis are generally along the east coast and the central strip along the west coast. These are consistently high at both scales. This reflects the vegetation community richness associated with proximity to the coast (east or west) and the altitudinal and rainfall characteristics of the east coast. The Iron Range, McIlwraith Range, the Pascoe, Shelburne, Lockerbie and the Virilya areas identified illustrate this.

Of special interest are the areas to the south east along the Melville-Starke coast and to the east of Lakefield National Park. The sandstone communities, rainforest communities and boulder areas would appear important in this regard. The Rokeby area in the central Peninsula, is also highly significant at both scales resulting from the presence of depositional surfaces of differing ages in close proximity to each other, and in addition to a complex riverine system. The Kimba Plateaux area to the central south is also clearly identified at both scales.