History of the East Point monsoon forest

Donald Franklin, Roger Matthews, Michael Lawes

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    Abstract

    The 135-hectare East Point Reserve, much of which forms a peninsula projecting into the Beagle Gulf from the city of Darwin, contains a significant remnant of coastal monsoon forest and is abutted in part by mangroves. Historical evidence suggests that monsoon forest once occupied almost all the peninsula, whereas the remnant now occupies 20% of it. Almost half the forest loss occurred prior to 1945 associated with use of the peninsula by the Australian military. The other half was cleared for a golf course and other purposes that we could not identify between 1945 and 1963, mostly between 1955 and 1963. Cyclone Tracy inflicted severe damage to the forest in 1974 but most tree species resprouted. The mangrove stand on the north side of the base of the peninsula has retreated coastward, thickened and extended westward, whilst a smaller stand on the southern side was cleared and has almost disappeared. Since taking over management of the area in 1984, Darwin City Council has revegetated about 20% of the peninsula. Agile Wallabies 'Macropus agilis' present in the Reserve proliferated during the 1980s, damaging remnant forest and replantings, but the population returned to much lower densities during the 1990s following closure of most watering points. Significant on-going management issues for the forest include the cost of further revegetation, and weed control. Invasion of remnant forest by Poinciana 'Delonix regia', an attractive non-native tree, may prove to be a controversial management issue in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2-16
    Number of pages15
    JournalNorthern Territory Naturalist
    Volume22
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

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    Franklin, D., Matthews, R., & Lawes, M. (2010). History of the East Point monsoon forest. Northern Territory Naturalist, 22, 2-16.