Horseshoe Bay beach scrub and dunes
Foreshore ecosystems are highly dynamic as a result of the natural impacts from wave action, storms and strong winds, tides and floods. They play an important role in the stabilisation of our coastline.
The foreshore of Horseshoe Bay supports a complex mosaic of vegetation types in relatively intact and undisturbed condition. Fourteen vegetation types have been identified within the Horseshoe Bay dunal area, including four grasslands, four woodlands, four forests, one forb land and one vine land.
Horseshoe Bay Vegetation Map
High-Resolution Version (400Kb .pdf)
On beach ridges like this one, much of the vegetation consists of pockets of stunted and sparse, salt-tolerant rainforest (vine thicket and woodland) flora. The species that survive here are some of the hardiest due to the arid, sandy environment with low fertility and salt-laden winds. This vegetation is called 'beach scrub' and abuts the she-oak (Casuarina equisetifolia) fringed foredune. The Magnetic Island beach scrubs are among the largest and most intact examples of this vegetation type in the Townsville region.
The pocket of vegetation here includes beach almond (Terminalia muelleri), tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides), Burdekin plum (Pleiogynium timorense) and pandanus (Pandanus cookii). A patchy understorey of black spear grass (Heteropogon contortis) is also present. Between these pockets of vine thicket woodland extensive areas of native grasses occur, with a quarter of the area as bare sand.
This area also provides a natural sanctuary for coastal wildlife, including the rusty monitor (Varanus semiremex) and the water rat (Hydromys chrysogaster), with complete access to a variety of habitats. The vine thicket woodland on the coastal dunes of Horseshoe Bay is considered to be of high conservation value as it is a naturally restricted type.
Water Rat (Hydromys chrysogaster)