The Cravens Peak Scientific Study saw the Society working collaboratively with a fellow non-profit organization to further the conservation of a significant conservation reserve. Cravens Peak, a former pastoral holding 135km south west of Boulia, was acquired by Australian Bush Heritage Fund in October 2005, as part of a broader proposal to extend the portion of regional ecosystems within the Mulligan River system.
A multi-disciplinary team of 35 scientists and assistants were on site from 27 March to 23 April 2007, to undertake fieldwork and surveys. Data collected during the scientific study provided the Australian Bush Heritage Fund with onsite-inventories and valuable baseline data for undertaking on-going monitoring and further site surveys and fieldwork. Analysis of the data assisted the Australian Bush Heritage Fund in developing management plans to secure the conservation of Cravens Peak.
The 233,000 hectare conservation reserve is located on the northern end of the Simpson Desert across the boundary of the Simpson-Strezlecki Dunefields and Channel Country bioregions. Several wetlands of national significance are located on site. The Cravens Peak property is of considerable bio-geographic interest, with an exceptional number of small reptiles and mammal species on-site.
Cravens Peak Scientific Study Projects: The Society had selected a wide range of projects for the Cravens Peak Scientific Study, including assessments of aquatic ecosystems and paleontological studies. Scientists, from a number of educational and government institutions as well as independent researchers, were represented on the multi-disciplinary team. Research was undertaken within a variety of landscape settings and habitats, with survey and fieldwork contributing to a better understanding of the diversity and distribution of flora and fauna onsite. Amongst the selected projects were studies and surveys of aquatic and semi-aquatic hemiptera, birdlife, cicadas, coleoptera, fungi and associated collembola and leaf pathogens, moths and butterflies, jumping spiders and pincushion millipedes. Collections undertaken for a number of projects boosted species currently underrepresented within the Australian National Insect Collection and Queensland Herbarium.
From Study Leader, Paul Feeney - "The Cravens Peak Scientific Study has completed its fieldwork phase. Following an almost disastrous start due to heavy rain, the expedition, due to the intense work effort of the volunteers, settled into a good working routine. Unfortunately, time lost for the first study period could not be replaced but the second period went well. The rain, which had caused so many problems created a unique situation for the researchers. Certainly no-one over the past ten years had seen the country the way we saw it. Sheets of water in the desert swales between the sand dunes; trees in the most pristine foliage; thigh high grass; birds, large and small, by the hundreds. Let us hope that this is the first of many good seasons in that country."