Fraser Island lies just off the east coast of Australia. At 122 km long, it is the largest sand island in the world. Majestic remnants of tall rainforest growing on sand and half the world’s perched freshwater dune lakes are found inland from the beach. The combination of shifting sand-dunes, tropical rainforests and lakes makes it an exceptional site. © UNESCO
2020 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Largest sand island in the world with spectacular beaches, cliffs and blowouts
Tall rainforest growing on high coastal sand dunes
Largest unconfined aquifer and perched freshwater dune lakes
Most complete age sequence of coastal dune systems
Unique process of soil formation with deepest podzols in the world
Unique flora and fauna demonstrating ongoing succession, speciation and radiation
Although some degree of hybridisation between dingoes and domestic dogs is suspected to have historically occurred on the island (Clutton‐Brock et al., 1994; Woodall et al., 1996; Behrendorff, 2016), K’gari represents an opportunity to maintain a self-sustaining population of wild genetically pure dingoes (UNESCO, 2001).
Several road sections have been realigned and site access redesigned to minimise sedimentation issues (IUCN Consultation, 2017).
Sea level rise of approximately 100mm since the early 1900s may also affect erosion rates (CSIRO, undated) and recent global predictions of up to 1 m of sea-level change by 2100 would result in significant disruption of both coastal dunes and the key beach transportation network on the island.
susceptible species. Predictions include increasing numbers of lower rainfall days/drought followed by heavy rainfall events which may further disrupt species distribution and abundance. Changing conditions will also increase biosecurity risk with the movement and prevalence of pest species including wind-borne myrtle rust and new weed species (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
Sinclair (2011) notes that the tourist management system needs to be improved to ensure conservation of the site’s values. The new QPWS&P values-based planning framework is expected to evaluate management effectiveness on a regular basis (IUCN Consultation, 2017). The Queensland Department of Environment and Science is working on a new Strategic Plan for the World Heritage site; in addition, a new values-based Management Plan is in development for the K'gari (Fraser Island) section of the Great Sandy (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science provides funding for day to day management of the National Park. The Australian Government provides $145,000 annually to support the Advisory Committee structure and fund secretariat services. This funding has remained at the same level for the last decade. The advisory committees have recommended a user pays (visitor levy) system to be implemented to fund protection of OUV and Traditional Owner needs on the island. The Queensland Government is currently considering this option (IUCN Consultation, 2020a).
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service & Partnerships (QPWS&P) are developing new interpretive materials which can be downloaded from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science’s website – the 12-page ‘Be dingo-safe’ brochure being notable as well as the ‘Be dingo-safe quick tips’ sheets, which are available in multiple languages.
A K’gari (Fraser Island) app was developed by the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in partnership with the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) and launched in 2018. The app is a free guide for anyone planning a trip to the site and provides important information on what visitors need to know before they go to the island, including information on getting to the island and what to do when on the island.
Since 2018, the BAC has been working with QPWS&P and with project consultants, TCL Landscape Architecture, on the Central Station Master Plan. The plans to upgrade the Central Station precinct and interpretative displays will enable the project’s partners to share Butchulla culture and lore with the over 400,000 visitors who travel to Fraser Island (K’gari) each year. This will greatly enhance the understanding of, engagement with, and access to the World Heritage-listed values of Fraser Island (K’gari). The project will also enable the Butchulla story and association with the World Heritage site to be delivered on Country.
There is a need for an increase in visitor briefings on dingo-safety with a focus on current risks and risk areas on-island (Archer-Lean et al., 2017).
The K’gari-Fraser Island World Heritage Discovery Centre is being developed in partnership with Kingfisher Bay Resort and USC with the support of the BAC (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
The Fraser Island (K’gari) Research Archive is held by the University of the Sunshine Coast and brings together various collections of resources which contribute to research into Fraser Island (K'gari). The Archive is founded on a collection of material donated by John Sinclair AO, which underpinned his research in lobbying for environmental protection and World Heritage listing of the Island (https://libguides.usc.edu.au/fiacollection).
University of Queensland has long term flora and fauna monitoring projects. University of Southern Queensland are collaboratively facilitating research into dingo genetics. The QPOWS&P Monitoring and Assessment Strategy outlines previous research and identifies other research required for particular key values. QPWS&P Rangers are also using QPWS data in peer reviewed publications (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
The whole island contains tangible (archaeological) evidence for the past occupation of Fraser Island (K’gari) by the ancestors of Butchulla Traditional Owners, including camping places (e.g. middens), stone quarries (e.g. headlands), burials (isolated graves and cemeteries), and ceremonial places (McNiven et al., 2002). Tangible evidence of long-term Butchulla use of, and association with, marine resources is amply demonstrated by hundreds of shell middens across K’gari, which contain shell and bones of fish, turtle, and dugong. There are many scarred trees and other physical remains of past human occupation. Patterned fens are particularly significant to Butchulla women.
Fraser Island (K’gari) is also a cultural landscape of both tangible and intangible heritage in the form of story places, resource areas, gendered places and other sites and locales of significance. All such places are of value to Butchulla people as an assertion of ongoing ancestral presence, traditional ownership, and identity. These places are protected under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 [QLD].
|№||Organization||Brief description of Active Projects||Website|
|1||Fraser Island Natural Integrity Alliance||Acts as an umbrella organisation for government and non-government organisations to work collaboratively to protect and restore the natural integrity of Fraser Island. Projects have included: weed management, pest management – cane toad and Jamella (Pandanus leaf-hopper) workshops, restoration of the Eurong nursery, revegetation, education and awareness initiatives – website, signage and quarterly Newsletter.||
|2||Conservation Volunteers||Marine debris clean-up, flora and fauna monitoring and Dingo population research involving collection of biological specimens (working with DES), pest plant management.||
|3||Fraser Island Defenders Organisation||Eurong Bush Regeneration Project (removal of invasive species around inhabited areas) (and other projects, see website).||
|4||Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland||Biosecurity on Fraser Island, and other projects||
|5||Sandy Cape Lighthouse Volunteers||Pest management, care and maintenance of Sandy Cape precinct, Marine turtle conservation program (working with DES).|
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Appleby, R. G., & Jones, D. (2011). Analysis of a Preliminary Dingo Capture-Mark-Recapture Experiment on Fraser Island Conducted by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Brisbane, Australia: Environmental Futures Centre, Griffith University.
Archer-Lean, C., Wardell-Johnson, A., Carter, J., Khattab, U. and Mahony, I. (2017). The Iconic Dingoes of K'gari-Fraser Island-communicating for their future: Report prepared for the Fraser Island Dingo Research Program, Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, 2016.
Arthington, A. H., & Hadwen, W. L. (2003). The significance and management implications of perched dune lakes as swimming and recreation sites on Fraser Island, Australia. Journal of Tourism Studies, 14(2), 35.
Arthington, A. H., Miller, G. J., & Outridge, P. M. (1989). Water quality, phosphorus budgets and management of dune lakes used for recreation in Queensland (Australia). Water Science and Technology, 21(2), pp.111-118.
Behrendorff, L., Leung, L.K.P., McKinnon, A., Hanger, J., Belonje, G., Tapply, J., Jones, D. and Allen, B.L. (2016). Insects for breakfast and whales for dinner: the diet and body condition of dingoes on Fraser Island (K’gari). Scientific Reports, 6(1), pp.1-12.
Carter, R.W., Tindale, N., Brooks, P. and Sullivan, D. (2015). Impact of camping on ground and beach flow water quality on the eastern beach of K'gari-Fraser Island: a preliminary study. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 22(2), pp.216-232.
Clutton‐Brock, J., Kitchener, A. C., & Lynch, J. M. (1994). Changes in the skull morphology of the Arctic wolf, Canis lupus arctos, during the twentieth century. Journal of Zoology, 233(1), pp.19-36.
Conroy, G. (2016a). A baseline genetic analysis of the K’gari-Fraser Island dingo population. Sippy Downs, Queensland: University of the Sunshine Coast.
Conroy, G. (2016b). A Pilot Dingo Scat DNA Mark Recapture Program to Estimate Population Size. Sippy Downs, Queensland: University of the Sunshine Coast.
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DERM (Department of Environment and Resource Management) (2012). Australia’s World Heritage Places: Fraser Island Information Sheet. http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/education/pubs/facts…. Downloaded September 2012.
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GHD (Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey) (2002). Fraser Island Sustainable Transport Management Study — Transport Strategies Working Paper — Report 41-10875. Brisbane, Australia: GHD.
Gontz, A. M., Moss, P. T., Sloss, C. R., Petherick, L. M., McCallum, A., & Shapland, F. (2015). Understanding past climate variation and environmental change for the future of an iconic landscape–K'gari Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 22(2), pp.105-123.
Harvey, J.P. (2011). Landscape Weed Management Plan for Fraser Island.Invasive plant species management plan developed for the Fraser Island Natural Integrity Alliance (FINIA). Sippy Downs, Queensland: University of the Sunshine Coast.
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Kleinhardt (Kleinhardt –FGT Coorperate Advisors) (2002). Tourism & Recreation Values of the Daintree and Fraser Island. Prepared for the Australian Tropical Research Foundation (AUSTROP). Unpublished report, Cairns. 58 pp.
Krishnan, V., Robinson, N., Firn, J., Applegate, G., Herbohn, J., & Schmidt, S. (2019). Without management interventions, endemic wet‐sclerophyll forest is transitioning to rainforest in World Heritage listed K’gari (Fraser Island), Australia. Ecology and evolution, 9(3), pp.1378-1393.
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