Site description (2008 baseline):

Site location and context
The Wooroonooran IBA encompasses the biggest block of tropical rainforest in Australia, covering 514,491 ha and stretching from south of Port Douglas past Cairns to Lucinda in north Queensland. The boundary of the IBA coincides with the Wet Tropics World Heritage area. The IBA could be extended to include additional rainforest outside this area but currently defined IBA area is judged to be sufficient to maintain populations of the key bird species. The two granite massifs that dominate the area, Mount Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker, are the highest points in northern Australia. Historically, much of the area has been selectively logged, however the impact of this logging has been relatively minor with the ecological integrity of the area largely intact.

Key biodiversity
The near threatened Bush Stone-curlew and the biome-restricted White-gaped Honeyeater, Yellow Honeyeater, White-browed Robin and Masked Finch are occasionally encountered in the IBA (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Non-bird biodiversity: As with the birds, the area encompassed by the IBA is also very important for a range of Wet Tropics endemic mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. This includes what is almost certainly the rarest frog in Australia, Taudactylus rheophilus, one of only two species of tree kangaroos, Dendrolagus lumholtz, that occur in Australia, and three species of endemic possums, Pseudochirops archeri, Pseudochirulus herbertensis and Hmibelideus lemuroides. One frog, Cophixalus neglectus, and two skink species, Techmarscincus jigurru and Eulamprus frerei, only occur on the summits of the highest peaks in the IBA, Mount Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Assessment of impacts, monitoring and management of weeds and ferals should be a high priority for land managers. Maintenance of the ecological integrity of high altitude forests through appropriate management of public access, weeds and feral animals is particularly important.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Numerous research projects are or have been conducted in this area. The area has also been an important locality for research on rainforest ecology and management, including work on the impact of climate change on endemic vertebrates, frugivory and seed dispersal, the impact of chytrid fungus on endangered frogs, and the biogeography of frogs and reptiles, amongst many others. The comprehensive mapping of regional ecosystems in the area is completed and is available for researchers and managers.

Protected areas
Numerous - see separate section.

Land ownership
State or local government.

The nomination was prepared by Alastair Freeman.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Wooroonooran. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/wooroonooran-iba-australia on 22/09/2023.