|Central coordinates||145o 58.99' East 17o 30.91' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||0 - 860m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Summary The IBA supports significant numbers of the globally vulnerable Sounthern Cassowary. It also supports nine of the 17 Queensland Wet Tropics restricted-range species.
Ornithological information The Coastal Wet Tropics IBA contains a wide range of lowland rainforest bird species, including the rare subspecies Rufous Owl subspecies queenslandica. Other habitats include extensive remote beaches, which support Beach Stone-curlew, and some small but well-populated freshwater wetlands, such as at Eubenangee National Park. The rainforest avifauna is complemented by a range of species, such as the near threatened Bush Stone-curlew and biome-restricted Yellow Honeyeater, that occur only in the mosaic of eucalypt and meleleuca woodlands which are present in patches with poorer soil or drainage or where there has been a history of fire.
Site description The Wet Tropic lowlands IBA is situated along the tropical east coast of northern Queensland. The boundary follows the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area which includes areas that are used by the defence department, are aboriginal freehold, unallocated state land and small reserves. It encompasses cassowary habitat including the Mission Beach area, which is considered by some to be the most significant area of cassowary habitat in the Wet Tropics. The climate is monsoonal with a pronounced wet season and a dry season moderated by moist trade winds. Lowland areas within the IBA encompass small areas of un-modified forested floodplain, while the majority of the IBA is made up of low hills and ranges. Native vegetation is predominantly tropical rainforest, with smaller areas of open eucalypt and paperbark forests, wetlands and mangroves.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius||resident||1988-2000||uncommon [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Yellow-spotted Honeyeater Meliphaga notata||resident||1998-2008||common [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Fernwren Oreoscopus gutturalis||resident||1998-2008||uncommon [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Bower's Shrike-thrush Colluricincla boweri||resident||1998-2008||rare [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Pale-yellow Robin Tregellasia capito||resident||1998-2008||abundant [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Cairns||Marine Park||702,533||protected area overlaps with site||2,888|
|Clump Mountain||National Park||283||protected area contained by site||282|
|Dallachy Creek||Fish Habitat Area A||1,723||protected area overlaps with site||1,342|
|Edmund Kennedy||National Park||10,800||protected area overlaps with site||8,280|
|Ella Bay||National Park||3,710||protected area contained by site||3,710|
|Eubenangee Swamp||National Park||1,900||protected area overlaps with site||1,720|
|Glen Idle Nature Refuge||Other Conservation Area||60||protected area overlaps with site||9|
|Graham Range Forest Park||Forest Reserve||193||protected area contained by site||193|
|Grey Peaks||National Park||1,083||protected area contained by site||920|
|Hull River||Fish Habitat Area A||1,507||protected area overlaps with site||1,138|
|Hull River||National Park||3,687||protected area contained by site||3,240|
|Kurrimine Beach||National Park||910||protected area contained by site||910|
|Malbon Thompson||Forest Reserve||5,935||protected area contained by site||5,935|
|Maria Creek||National Park||749||protected area contained by site||749|
|Moresby Range||National Park||616||protected area overlaps with site||292|
|Mount Mackay||National Park||3,680||protected area contained by site||3,680|
|Russell River||National Park||5,050||protected area overlaps with site||3,921|
|Tam OShanter||National Park||4,123||protected area contained by site||4,123|
|Trinity||Forest Reserve||2,244||protected area contained by site||2,244|
|Wet Tropics of Queensland||World Heritage Site||894,420||protected area overlaps with site||37,635|
|Wreck Creek||Fish Habitat Area A||1,260||protected area overlaps with site||785|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Forest||Melaleuca forests & woodlands; Rainforest & vine thickets||85%|
|Savanna||Tropical eucalypt woodlands & grasslands||10%|
Land ownership Queensland State Government - Parks and Wildlife, Aboriginal land and the Department of Defence.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
Other biodiversity The Coastal Wet Tropics IBA contains populations of two species of endangered frog, Common Mistfrog and Lace-eyed Tree Frog, while the southern extent of the IBA encompasses a significant area of habitat for the Mahogany Glider. The area also contains a number of threatened plant species and Regional Ecosystems. Given its location in the Wet Tropics, and the relative paucity of survey information available for many of the forested areas, other significant fauna and flora values are almost certainly present within the IBA.
Management considerations Monitor infrastructure plans, natural systems and invasive species. The long-term impacts of climate change maybe significant on low-lying parts of the IBA; however, the exact nature of this impact and hence the management implications have yet to be ascertained.
Protection status Numerous - see separate listing.
Conservation response Comprehensive mapping of the regional ecosytems in the area has just been completed by the Wet Tropics Management Authority. The area has been important for research on cassowary ecology and management. CSIRO is currently carrying out research on frugivory in birds and bats within the area.
Acknowledgements Thanks to Alastair Freeman for compiling the nomination.
References Crome, F.H.J. and Moore, L.A. (1990) Cassowaries in north-eastern Queensland: report of a survey and a review and assessment of their status and conservation management needs. Australian Wildlife Research 17: 369-385.
Garnett, S.T. and Crowley, G. (2000) The action plan for Australian birds. Environment Australia: Canberra.
Goosem, S. (2000) Renomination of the cassowary on the Commonwealth Endangered Species Schedule. Queensland Government Printer: Brisbane.
Moore, L.A. (2007) Population ecology of the southern cassowary Casuarius casuarius johnsonii, Mission Beach north Queensland. Journal of Ornithology 148: 357-366.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (2002) Recovery plan for the southern cassowary Casuarius casuarius johnsonii 2001-2005. (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane).
Sattler, P. and Williams, R. (1999) The conservation status of Queensland's bioregional ecosystems. (Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane).
Stanton,P. and Stanton, D. (2005) 'Vegetation mapping of the Wet tropics. Wet Tropics Management Authority, Cairns. Australia.
Stocker, G.C. and Irvine, A.K. (1983) Seed dispersal by cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius) in North Queensland's rainforests. Biotropica 15, 170-176.
Wet Tropics Management Authority(1996) Wet Tropics in profile. Reference guide to the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area. (Wet Tropics Management Authority, Cairns).
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