A 100-year old mangarr ecosystem on relic dunes on Broome peninsula has been recognised as a ‘priority one’ ecological community following several applications to the state by local environment group Environs Kimberley (EK).
Known to botanists as Sersalisia sericea, mangarr is culturally important to the Yawuru people, and a renowned local bushtucker species. It is rare to find such an abundance of mangarr this old.
Funded by Rangelands NRM through Caring for our Country (CfoC), Environs Kimberley has been trying for a number of years to obtain this recognition and ensure future conservation of the community. The primary threat was impending clearing and future development.
Together with Broome Botanical Society, the Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals (SKIPA), DEC Threatened Species and Communities Branch (Perth), and bird researcher Jan Lewis, Environs Kimberley produced ecological surveys that would provide more information about the location, species and ecological processes of the mangarr community.
The application to the state identified that as well as eating fruit from the mangarr, wallabies, possums, bats, and a range of bird species find shelter in the protective cover of the vegetation. Many birds make their nests in the mangarr during the breeding season.
In addition, many of these animals are critical to the maintenance and viability of the nearby threatened ecological community of monsoon vine thicket, which relies on mobile fruit eating animals to spread seeds between patches, and maintain species and genetic diversity.
As a consequence of this valuable documentation of the mangarr community, the ecosystem has now been listed by the Department of Environment and Conservation as a ‘priority one’ ecological community.
‘Priority one’ status means that the state has acknowledged that an ecological community is a high priority for a survey and/or definition of the community, and evaluation of conservation status. This may then lead to consideration of the ecosystem to be declared a threatened ecological community.