Gammon Ranges and Arkaroola

Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
The IBA is one of a small number of protected areas that contain an apparently sustainable population of the restricted-range species Short-tailed Grasswren. The IBA consists of Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park (128,228 ha) and adjoining, privately-owned Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary (~61,000 ha). The site is located in the northern Flinders Ranges, approximately 700 km north of Adelaide and 100 km east of Leigh Creek in South Australia. It experiences a semi-arid climate with mild (winter) to hot (summer) temperatures and mean annual rainfall of about 250 mm. The IBA is mostly situated among the rugged terrain of the North Flinders Ranges, but the boundary also extends east in places to include adjacent, low-lying plains. The North Flinders Ranges are mainly formed of faulted and folded sedimentary rock. The loam and duplex soils of the IBA support four major vegetation communities: woodlands, shrublands, scrublands and grasslands. Short-tailed Grasswrens also occur in neighbouring private pastoral properties and the Flinders Ranges National Park IBA to the south.

Key biodiversity
The IBA contains populations of four species that are listed as threatened in South Australia: Peregrine Falcon, White-browed Treecreeper and Striated Grasswren [= Short-tailed Grasswren, subspecies Amytornis merrotsyi merrotsyi] (Department for Environment and Heritage 2006) as well as significant but small isolated populations of Shy Heathwren, Southern Scrub-robin and Chestnut Quail-thrush, and bio-geographically significant taxonomically intermediate representatives of Splendid Fairy-wren (A. Black in litt. 2009). The Atlas of Australian Birds contains single records of the near threatened Australian Bustard and Grey Falcon, and the biome-restricted Painted Finch, amongst 284 surveys for the period 1998 to 2008 (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Non-bird biodiversity: The IBA supports a diverse biota. For example, 977 species of flora and 200 species of fauna have been recorded in Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park alone. These figures include three plant species and two animal species that are listed as threatened at the national level and 42 plant species and seven animal species that are listed as threatened in South Australia (Department for Environment and Heritage 2006).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Monitor presence/abundance of invasive species and undertake control where necessary. Monitor fragmentation of fragmentation of habitats and monitoring tourism and the impact involved with visitors to the parks.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
A management plan has been prepared for Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park (Department for Environment and Heritage 2006).

Protected areas
The IBA consists of the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park and the adjacent Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

Land ownership
Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park is co-managed by the Department for Environment and Heritage and the indigenous Adnyamathanha people. Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is leasehold land managed privately for tourism and conservation; it is officially recognised as a nature sanctuary under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.

Graham Carpenter provided information on the grasswrens. Andrew Black, Keith Bellchambers and Emma Ginman provided comments on the nomination.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gammon Ranges and Arkaroola. Downloaded from on 21/05/2022.