Simpson Desert

Australia

A large dry expanse of red, sandy plain deserts dominated by the world’s largest parallel sand dune systems. The area is incredibly old and has formed atop the Great Artesian Basin. It also forms important seasonal wetlands including Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre) which hosts millions of migratory birds when in flood.

Simpson_desert

Status

Protection
0 %

Status

Size

730,835 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​

Nil

 

Background – CC Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported – Christopher Watson, 2013 / Map – Public Domain – V Ryabish, 2013

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: Good Riddance

Services

Holidays: Mitchell Grass Retreat

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 the keystone species Coolibah (Eucalyptus coolabah) and River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) for specimen features. 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 Waddi (Acacia peuce) and Gidgee (Acacia georginae). 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 Tar Bush (Eremophila glabra), Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisioides) and Emu Bush (Eremophila alternifolia) for bright flowering colours. 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 Small Monkey-flower (Mimulus prostratus), Poached Egg Daisy (Polycalymma stuartii), Swainsona affinis, Ptilotus sessilifolius, Darling Lily (Crinum flaccidum) 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

This large inland desert system is comprised of the Channel Country and the Simpson-Strzelecki Dunefields, together making up a vast red, sandy dune system dominated by grasslands and open, bare ground. The ecoregion is strongly seasonal being transformed during significant rain events. Millions of migratory birds travel vast distances to feed and breed during flood, including an estimated 200,000 Australian Pelicans that flock to Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre); the largest endorheic lake in Australia. The ephemeral blooms of many small desert plants paint the red sands with purple, pink, yellow and white during these more bountiful times. The area has very few settlements or roads and is largely unaffected by human activities, although some grazing and feral animals remain a threat.

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

A large expanse of red, sandy desert plains atop the Great Artesian Basin

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 Rat-kangaroo
(Caloprymnus campestris)

Lord Howe Fantail
(Rhipidura cervina)

Lord Howe Thrush
(Turdus vinitinctus)

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

Australian Pelicans travel huge distances to Lake Eyre from coastal regions of Australia, often taking with them small invertebrates and their larvae in their feathers and distributing populations of these important prey-items.

Life-support Systems​

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