|Title||The Hydroecological Natural Heritage Story of Cape York Peninsula|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Cook, BD, Kennard, MJ, Ward, DP, Pusey, BJ|
The field of hydroecology seeks to explain the relationships between hydrological processes, biotic structure and ecological processes at a variety of spatial scales. This report presents the hydroecological natural heritage story of Cape York Peninsula. Unlike many areas of Australia, freshwater-dependent ecosystems of Cape York Peninsula have high ecological integrity, possessing a diverse and unique array of aquatic, riparian and terrestrial biodiversity, near-natural flow regimes, and relatively intact riverine landscapes. These aquatic ecosystems not only provide clean water, food and recreation opportunities for human societies but have important intrinsic natural and cultural heritage values that are potentially significant from a national and international perspective.
The report outlines the potential natural heritage values of freshwater-dependent ecosystems, aquatic biodiversity and hydroecological processes of the region with respect to National and World Heritage selection criteria. The report documents:
1. the extent, variety and distinctiveness of aquatic ecosystem types in the region,
2. biodiversity and biogeographic patterns of freshwater-dependent flora and fauna,
3. hydroecological processes that sustain the natural integrity and biodiversity of freshwater-dependent ecosystems,
4. preliminary assessments of the National and International natural heritage significance of hydroecological features of Cape York Peninsula. These assessments are made using multiple lines of evidence, including indicators of significance, comparative analyses, and natural integrity.
Information in the report was compiled from the literature as well as expert knowledge and personal experience of the research team on the aquatic ecosystems of Cape York Peninsula. As much as possible, the report is written in lay person terms and in a creative way so that it can be read and appreciated by a broad audience.