The Society's 2000 scientific study was to the White Mountains area and was jointly organised with Australian Geographic.
The aim of the study was: to investigate the natural resources within part of the White Mountains National Park; to share results across scientific disciplines during and after the study; to contribute information useful to management of the park; and to communicate science to a wider audience.
Twenty-four scientists, from Melbourne to Kuranda, gathered information on dragonflies and springtails, frogs and fish, fungi and flowering plants, history written in the rocks, snakes and lizards and many other features of the flora and fauna of the White Mountains National Park environment.
Part of the research work was done in the deeply dissected gorge country and safety was a primary concern because of the crumbly nature of the rock.
Our Society is proud of its ability to help scientists access these isolated areas and also to facilitate a valuable, cross-disciplinary exchange of information. Comprehensive reports are published and made available to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service where they contribute to park management planning.
White Mountains National Park is situated about 80 km north-east of Hughenden and 140 km south-west of Charters Towers. The park conserves a diverse range of plant and animal communities in the Alice Tableland Province of the Desert Uplands biogeographic region. The park is important for its sandstone formations and accompanying maze of gorges which are a significant part of the landscape and house a wide range of rare and threatened species of flora and fauna. It contains one of the most botanically diverse inland areas of Queensland, with spectacular flowering heathland and disjunct populations of many rare or vulnerable species.
The geology of the park is dominated by Triassic sandstones. These are overlain by Quaternary colluvial and fluvial sediments and the older (Triassic) Warang sandstones have been revealed by weathering.
Ten vegetation communities containing at least 430 plant species have been identified to date in White Mountains National Park. While vegetation mapping has been undertaken, additional species are regularly being identified. The vegetation is dominated by eucalypt, acacia and melaleuca woodlands, and heathland species. The park has a high habitat diversity with many ecotones between vegetation communities. A maze of inhospitable sandstone outcrops and gorges and connecting tablelands provides habitats for a wide variety of animals.
The park is an important refuge for wildlife. Animals of conservation significance include: black throated finch (Poephila cincta), squatter pigeon (Geophaps scripta), grey falcon (Falco hypoleucos), square tailed kite (Lophoictinia isura), white-eared honey-eater (Lichenostomus leucotis), brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla), spectacled hare-wallaby (Lagorchestes conspicillatus), and a moth (Synemon brontius).