Booklet highlights Kimberley's most threatened ecosystem

The Broome Botanical Society (BBS) has worked with Environs Kimberley to release important research about one of the Kimberley's most threatened ecosystems; Monsoon Vine Thickets of the Dampier Peninsula. The Federal Government is currently deciding whether or not to list this culturally significant and environmentally important ecosystem as Nationally Endangered under the EPBC Act (1999).

The scientific report;  "A comprehensive survey of the flora, extent and condition of vine thickets on coastal sand dunes of Dampier Peninsula, West Kimberley 2000-2002" was conducted on a volunteer basis, with Environs Kimberley supporting its completion in 2010.

The Rangelands NRM-funded ‘West Kimberley Nature Project’ is now supporting Broome Botanical Society to publicity release their findings.

“A colourful, plain-English booklet ‘Valuable &Threatened’ outlines values, threats and conservation priorities of the Monsoon Vine Thickets (MVTs),” Environs Kimberley Projects Coordinator, Louise Beames said.

The book’s principal author, Sally Black said before this current work, almost no scientific surveys of Peninsula MVT's had been published, and no-one knew how many patches of thickets there were, or how large an area they covered.

MVTs make up less than one tenth of one per cent of the Dampier Peninsula and are very easily damaged. Major threats identified were weeds, fire, clearing, off-road 4-wheel-driving and camping, animals and development.

"Containing almost a quarter of all Peninsula plants (51 plant species), this coastal rainforest ecosystem is an important refuge for birds, bats and other animals," Ms Black said. "MVT's work as an ecological network with the loss of a single patch affecting all other patches. Conservation and management must treat the network as a whole in order to keep them connected."

David Dureau, Broome Botanical Society President said this information establishes a baseline for future study and emphasises how little we know. 

"The government should now be investing in substantial surveys of MVT's, working to protect rainforest networks and keeping them connected and viable" he said.

Copies of the booklet are available at the Bardi Jawi Ranger base in One Arm Point, the Nyul Nyul Ranger base in Beagle Bay, the EK Market Stall. They are also available online, and on loan at the Broome Library. A community presentation about the findings is planned for early 2013.

For more information, contact Louise Beames at Environs Kimberley.