Great Sandy-Tanami desert

Australia

An enormous ecoregion of wide desert sands with areas of wooded steppe and shrubby grasslands.

Great Sandy-Tanami

Status

Protection
0 %

Size

823,784 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​

 

Background – CC Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International – Dietmar Rabich, 2019 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International – Every-leaf-that-trembles, 2021

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

Environmental Consulting: Low Ecological Services

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 Ghost Gum (Corymbia aparrerinja) 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 the amazing MacDonnell Ranges Cycad (Macrozamia macdonnellii), Bat's-wing Coral-tree (Erythrina vespertilio), Whitewood (Atalaya hemiglauca), Whitchetty-bush (Acacia kempeana) and Desert Oak (Allocasuarina decaisneana). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SHRUB LAYER

Plant native shrubs that are hardy to desert conditions including the sweet-scented Chocolate Cassia (Senna pleurocarpa), Native Cotton (Gossypium australe), Flying Saucer Bush (Acacia hilliana), Native Fuschia (Eremophila latrobei), Native Raisin (Solanum centrale) and Honey Grevillea (Grevillea eriostachya). To create habitat, consider installing insect hotels, compost-heaps and bird-baths in this layer.

GROUND LAYER

Plant tufts of cottage-garden style herbs like Desert Petunia (Dipteracanthus australasicus), Pink Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus exaltatus), Davenport Daisy (Lawrencella davenportii), Poached Egg Daisy (Polycalymma stuartii), Darling Lily (Crinum flaccidum) and Broad-leaved Parakeelya (Calandrinia balonensis). Grasses are also an important staple for native wildlife so try Native Lemongrass (Cymbopogon ambiguus) and Weeping Spinifex (Triodia brizoides). 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 Great Sandy-Tanami desert ecoregion is actually comprised of a number of deserts: the Little Sandy, Great Sandy, Tanami and Davenport Murchison Ranges. These areas are mostly expanses of flat, red or orange sands amongst broken hills of ancient weather sedimentary rocks. The wildlife is incredibly hardy to life with little moisture. Plants are adapted with special forms of photosynthesis, spines and poisons, while animals are often nocturnal or have developed incredibly tough skin and UV resistance. Some of the most iconic arid interior species live here including numerous reptiles, emus and the largest of all kangaroos, the Red Kangaroo.

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

Vast areas of red sand plains and dunefields, many of which are longitudinal, as well as scattered rocky outcrops

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.
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.

Desert Bandicoot
(Perameles eremiana)

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

Perenties are important predators in the central deserts of Australia and are also ecosystem engineers by creating deep burrows that provide refugia for other species.

Life-support Systems​

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