Identifying biodiversity and bush-tucker hotspots for targeted management in Kakadu National Park  

Project start date: 01/04/2023
Project end date: 30/06/2027
NESP funding: $757,029 (GST-exclusive)

Kakadu National Park is one of the largest national parks in Australia, covering almost 20,000 square kilometres.

The effective conservation in large, protected areas like Kakadu National Park requires managers to prioritise certain areas of high conservation value for management activities.

Given Kakadu’s widespread mammal declines in recent decades, the continued threat from other priorities like grassy-weed invasions, ongoing degradation from feral animals, and pressures caused by the changing climate, prioritisations must be well-informed.

Water Lily (Nymphaea violacea) stems are a common bush-tucker in Kakadu. Photo: gailhampshire CC-BY 2.0
Water Lily (Nymphaea violacea) stems are a common bush-tucker in Kakadu. Photo: gailhampshire CC-BY 2.0.

This project is collecting information about where threatened species are persisting in the landscape; where ‘hotspots’ of biodiversity occur; and where important areas for bush-tucker species are located. We are developing this information into landscape-scale management tools to be used by Traditional Owners and Parks Australia staff.

With this knowledge, land-managements can focus their efforts on areas where they will have the most value for conservation and for Traditional Owners.

Key research areas

To identify hotspots of biodiversity and bush tucker in Kakadu National Park, this project is:

  • collating data on the locations and abundance of current species
  • using Indigenous knowledge to create data layers about significant places for bush foods
  • undertaking targeted field surveys of focal communities (including riparian zones) or under-surveyed areas to obtain data to inform models and validate model predictions
  • developing predictive species-distribution models
  • identifying significant places for bush foods and high biodiversity and explore environmental factors contributing to spatial patterns of diversity
  • performing targeted studies on priority study species.
  • Native apple (Syzygium suborbiculare). Photo: Paul and Jill (CC BY 2.0).
  • The Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana). Photo: Zig CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
  • Blackcurrent Bush (Antidesma ghaesembilla). By Dinesh Valke CC-BY-SA 2.0