Gibson Desert

Australia

A large desert of low, gravelly ridges and plains with undulating red sand and small ranges. This ecoregion is one of the most remote areas of Australia, with many areas largely remaining in an almost pristine state. The area is dominated by grasslands and low mulga vegetation.

Gibson_Desert

Status

Protection
0 %

Size

156,289 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​

Nil

 

Background – CC Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International – Ghreumaich, 2017 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported – Hesperian, 2007

ACT
Help your Ecoregion
So what can you do to help your ecoregion? Below is a list to help you support your ecoregion, while also achieving life's everyday tasks. Don’t underestimate your power in doing good for nature!

PRODUCTS

Food and Homeware: The Brew

Services

Holidays: Crossroads EcoMotel

At Home
Below is a list of actions you can easily take at home to minimise your impact on the ecoregion in which you live, and the rest of the planet too!
In your Garden
Below is a list of native plants and habitat creation tips you can use in your garden or on your property to give your ecoregion and its species a boost!

CANOPY LAYER

Plant Western Coolibah (Eucalyptus victrix) and Desert Bloodwood (Corymbia opaca) if you have the space. To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SUB-CANOPY LAYER

Plant native sub-canopy trees and tall shrubs including Mulga (Acacia aneura) and Rattlepod Grevillea (Grevillea stenobotrya). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SHRUB LAYER

Plant native shrubs such as the stunning Desert Star-flower (Calytrix carinata), Tar Bush (Eremophila glabra) and Waputi (Aluta maisonneuvei). These plants create dense shrubby refugia and provide plenty of nectar for birds and mammals. To create habitat, consider installing insect hotels, compost-heaps and bird-baths in this layer.

GROUND LAYER

Plant tufts of cottage-garden style herbs and grasses like Tall Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus exaltatus) and the tufted rings of Lobed Spinifex (Triodia basedowii). To create habitat, consider installing a pond or bog-garden with native aquatic and riparian plants, log-piles for sheltering amphibians and reptiles and leave areas of leaf-litter for important insects.

Learn

The Gibson Desert ecoregion is one of Australia’s least-known and contains large expanses of open desert country with ancient geological and cultural connections. The land is dominated by relatively flat, gravelly plains and small ridges with open red sand plains in between. The vegetation is dominated by grasslands and small mulga woodlands with riparian zones such as Lake Mackay and other smaller salt-lakes. The plants and animals are highly adapted to living in arid conditions, with the reptile fauna particularly diverse and including many species capable of surviving prolonged drought. Little disturbance has occurred to the ecoregion, and much of it is protected in Indigenous Protected Areas and Aboriginal lands.

Ecoregion Structure
The structure of the ecoregion is defined as the key living and non-living features characterising its ecosystems, and the differences between how these ecosystems are arranged. For example, layers of vegetation, geology, habitat features and landscapes.

Geology

Large open desert of gravel-covered terrain with low ridges and sand plains

Climate

Desert

Iconic Landscapes

Native plant communities

Scenes by @blueringmedia
Ecoregion Composition
The composition of the ecoregion is defined as the biodiversity that inhabits its ecosystems, and the differences between this biodiversity. For example, communities, populations, species, subspecies and genetic traits.
Keystone Species​
Keystone species are those that have a disproportionately large effect on the ecosystems in which they live, relative to their natural abundance there. In other words, species with a really important role in the health of ecosystems.
Flagship Species
Flagship species are those that are chosen by people to represent a wider conservation message, usually for a given place or social context, and as such often carry conservation messages for wider biodiversity.

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
(Lophochroa leadbeateri)

Scarlet-chested Parrot
(Neophema splendida)

Recently Extinct Species
All around the world, biodiversity is declining at a concerning rate. For some species it's already too late, and they have disappeared from the ecoregions they once called home. These are some examples of those lost species.

Southern Pig-footed Bandicoot
(Chaeropus ecaudatus)

Lake Mackay Hare-wallaby
(Lagorchestes asomatus)

Lesser Bilby
(Macrotis leucura)

Ecoregion Function
The function of the ecoregion is defined as how its structural and compositional components all work together to form ecological relationships and processes which change over time through geological shifts and evolution by natural selection.

Keystone Relationships

Red Kangaroos play a pivotal role in the regeneration of desert vegetation. From grazing plants to migrating their seeds long distances in their dung, they engineer the plant communities around them.

Life-support Systems​

Biodiversity is fundamental to a healthy planet and thriving communities, but the world's species are under tremendous threat.