Conservation Management Zones of Australia North Australian Tropical Savanna

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Conservation Management Zones of Australiaaustralian government logo

North Australian Tropical Savanna

Prepared by the Department of the Environment

Acknowledgementsaustralian government logo

This project and associated products are the result of a collaboration between the Biodiversity Conservation Division and the Environmental Resources Information Network (ERIN). Invaluable input, advice and support was provided by staff and leading researchers from across the Department of the Environment (DotE), Department of Agriculture (DoA), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and the academic community. We would particularly like to thank staff within the Wildlife, Heritage and Marine Division, Parks Australia and the Environment Assessment and Compliance Division of DotE, Nyree Stenekes and Robert Kancans (ABARES), Sue McIntyre (CSIRO), Richard Hobbs (University of Western Australia), Michael Hutchinson (ANU); David Lindenmayer and Emma Burns (ANU); and Gilly Llewellyn, Martin Taylor and other staff from the World Wildlife Fund for their generosity and advice.

Special thanks to CSIRO staff Kristen Williams and Simon Ferrier whose modelling of biodiversity patterns enabled identification of the Conservation Management Zones of Australia.

© Commonwealth of Australia, 2015.

The Conservation Management Zones of Australia profile is licensed by the Commonwealth of Australia for use under a Creative Commons By Attribution 3.0 Australia licence with the exception of the Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth of Australia, the logo of the agency responsible for publishing the report, content supplied by third parties, and any images depicting people.

For licence conditions see here.


Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners and Country 4

Introduction 4

Zone at a glance 5

Population characteristics 11

Employment, volunteering and incomes 16

Agriculture, Natural Resource Management practices and sources of NRM advice 18

Land tenure, land use, Native Title and Local Government Areas 22

Zone vegetation characteristics 31

Ramsar and Nationally Important Wetlands 33

World and National Heritage 35

Major National Reserve System properties 36

EPBC Act (1999) threatened ecological communities 38

EPBC Act (1999) threatened species 38

EPBC Act (1999) migratory species 44

Threatened endemic species 46

Invasive species 53

Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners and Country

The Australian Government acknowledges Australia’s Traditional Owners and pays respect to Elders past and present of our nation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We honour the deep spiritual, cultural and customary connections of Traditional Owners to the Australian landscape, including Australia’s waterways, land and sea country.


The 23 Conservation Management Zones of Australia are geographic areas, classified according to their ecological and threat characteristics. The zones are also aligned with the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia.

The Conservation Management Zones provide a way of understanding Australia’s natural environment that will assist in long-term conservation planning and help the Australian Government to better design, deliver and report on Natural Resource Management (NRM) investments, including ensuring alignment of national NRM priorities with local action.

The Conservation Management Zones also provide a filter through which to make national environmental and socio-economic data more accessible and comprehensible, and a framework for gathering on-ground knowledge and expertise about the environment.  This will improve information flow to the Australian Government about regional NRM requirements, best practice management, emerging NRM issues and knowledge gaps.

The Conservation Management Zones do not represent any change to existing administrative boundaries or governance structures, but aim to support the NRM and wider community to cooperatively manage environmental assets across boundaries, where they share common threats, ecological characteristics and stakeholders.

Each Conservation Management Zone profile contains a standard suite of nationally available ecological and socio-economic information.  We hope that this information will enable Australians of all ages and backgrounds to engage with, understand and appreciate Australian landscapes, and support all Australians to manage our natural resources more effectively.

The profile information provides an indicative, high-level stock-take of the environmental and socio-economic landscape and it is not intended to be comprehensive. It should also be noted that, at present, the profiles contain only limited information on aquatic ecosystems, coastal assets and Indigenous land management practices.  In future, consultation and comprehensive literature reviews will enable us to provide more complete information.

Zone at a glance

this graphic shows an image of the australian continent with zone northern australia tropical savanna highlighted. the zone occupies 131,555,405 hectares. the zone occupies 17.1 percent of the australian continent.

this graphic shows an image of a man and a woman. the population density of this zone is 0.19 people per square kilometer.

this bar graph shows the composition of the population of the zone according to the proportion of the population in specific population categories. the total population of zone is 254,843 people. approximate population numbers for each category are: youth (15-24): 35,000 people over 65: 15,000 people indigenous: 70,000 people english as a second language speakers: 55,000 people

this pie graph shows that 95.4 percent of the zone’s population are employed, and 4.6 percent are unemployed.

Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data

Major cities and towns




Charters Towers








Regional centres










Fitzroy Crossing




Gunbalanya (Oenpelli)
















Thursday Island






Wurrumiyanga (Nguiu)


Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions

Cape York NRM


Terrain NRM


Northern Gulf Resource Management Group


Southern Gulf Catchments


Territory Natural Resource Management


Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group Inc


Top five agricultural commodities

Value (millions)





Vegetables for consumption




Other broadacre crops


Total value of agricultural commodities (including other commodities not listed here)


Climate characteristics*

Mean annual temperature

25.8 Celsius

Mean Maximum of the Hottest Month

36.2 Celsius

Mean Minimum of the Coldest Month

19.1 Celsius

Mean Annual Rainfall

823.6 mm

Dominant rainfall season


* The figures are interpolated 75-year means (1921 to 1995) representing the period prior to the onset of rapid climatic warming. Cited in: Williams KJ, Belbin L, Austin MP, Stein J, Ferrier S (2012) Which environmental variables should I use in my biodiversity model? International Journal of Geographic Information Sciences 26(11), 2009–2047. (Data derived from Australian Climate surfaces version 2.1 for the ANUCLIM-BIOCLIM package).

For future climate projections please refer to:

Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data

this pie graph shows that 27 percent of the zone area is held in native title, and 73 percent of the zone is classed as ‘other area’.

this pie graph shows that 18 percent of the zone is part of the national reserve system, and 82% is classed as ‘other area’.

this pie graph shows that 1 percent of the zone’s native vegetation has been cleared, and 99 percent remains uncleared.

this pie graph shows the number of threatened species according to taxonomic groups with the zone. within this zone there are: 111 threatened plant species 25 threatened bird species 29 threatened mammal species 16 threatened reptile species 7 threatened frog species 1 threatened fish species 1 threatened insect species 6 threatened shark species 1 other threatened species.

this bar graph shows the number of listed vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, conservation dependent and migratory species found within the zone and the number of threatened ecological communities found within the zone. within the zone there are: 120 vulnerable species 69 endangered species 9 critically endangered species 1 conservation dependent species 74 migratory species 4 threatened ecological communities.

Based on data from the National Native Title Register; Collaborative Australian Protected Area Database (CAPAD); National Vegetation Information System (NVIS); Species’ Profile and Threats Database (SPRAT).

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