TREAT Newsletter Cool Season April - June 2004

MoU Between TREAT & QPWS

By Barb Lanskey

An important document called a "Memorandum of Understanding" was signed by TREAT and QPWS at Friday's working bee at the nursery on the 19 March. Despite the drenching weather, Regional Director, Clive Cook and Stephen Garnett made the trip up from Cairns for QPWS, and TREAT members turned up as usual.

A celebratory cake marked the occasion and the press were there to record the event.

The document puts in writing the details of the existing CTR & TREAT partnership. It lists the responsibilities of QPWS & TREAT for each other and will be valid initially for 3 years.

Clive Cook spoke of the usefulness of the document in recording just how the CTR/ TREAT partnership works for any new QPWS management. TREAT will use the document in applications for project funding and in educational work.


Inside this issue

Coming Events - 3 Field Days

Los Cedros Reserve - South America

Nursery News

Project Update - Peterson Creek

Name Change for Eacham Shire Tree Planting Group

Tree-Roo Project

Tree Kangaroo Planting What a Day!

Tree Plantings

Gabi or Karpe Fig? The Fruit of the Month

Nursery Sowing List


Coming Events - 3 Field Days

Working Field Day at Peterson Creek

Saturday May 15

Meet at Palumbo's farm at 1pm to walk through the 1998, 2000-2002 plantings downstream. Then about 3pm for the keen and energetic, we'll tackle some of the weeds around young trees in the 2002 planting.

Coastal Field Day at Eubenangee Swamp and El Arish

Saturday June 19

This is an opportunity to see where all the trees in the coast section of the nursery go. Meet at Eubenangee Swamp at 11 am to see what has already been achieved there and learn about the future challenges. After a brief picnic lunch, we'll then meet at El Arish at 1.30pm to look at creek plantings on a cane farm and hear about the Walter Hill Ranges linkage from the coast to the tablelands.

Farm Forestry Field Day at Kairi

Saturday July 17

Meet at John Hall's farm at 1pm for an informative afternoon.


Congratulations

A big thank you to all those who helped at the numerous plantings this season.

Besides projects for TREAT & QPWS, there were plantings for TKMG, Mabi Forest Team, Millaa Millaa Tracks Group, 2 schools and several private landholders.

Many thousands of trees were planted and this year the weather was kind, with lots of rain to help establish the young trees.


Los Cedros Reserve - South America

By Peter Tuck

In mid 2003 my family were fortunate to have travelled to three countries of South America. One of the highlights of our trip was an arduous 5 hour mule trek over rough mountain passes followed by a three day stay at Los Cedros Forest Reserve. Los Cedros, which translates loosely as 'the Cedars', comprises 6,000 ha of primary forest located in the Choco region of North Western Ecuador close to the Columbian border.

The Choco region forest is considered to be one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth, as the cold Humboldt and warm Pacific Ocean currents collide off its coast and Amazonian and Central American flora and fauna meet in this 'Pleistocene Refuge'. The Reserve is situated on the western slopes of the Andes Range and the altitude ranges from 1,100m and rising in parts to 2,700m. Rainforest lying at elevations in excess of 2,500m is aptly named 'Cloud Forest'. These forests have high atmospheric humidity and frequent fog and mist associated precipitation. They are characterised by Epiphytes which thrive on the rainforest trees including Podocarpus, Ficus, and Cedar sp.

The diversity and height of the forest canopy declines with elevation, however as an indication of the biodiversity of the Reserve there are reported to be an estimated 300 - 400 orchids represented, 300 bird species, of which 20 are endemic including the Toucan Barbet, Cloud Forest Pygmy Owl and a few diminutive Hummingbirds, and a reported 900 nocturnal moths! The Reserve is also home to a number of larger species including the elusive Spectacled Bear, Howler Monkeys and Jaguars. The scenery is stunning with mist settling/ rising on folded valleys through which run clear mountain streams.

It is estimated that over 90% of this forest type has been cleared over the centuries, primarily for small scale slash and burn agriculture of bananas, cassava and cattle grazing, but also for 'development'. Los Cedros and other similar 'Reserves' are constantly under threat from land speculators as well as squatter communities who may border the boundaries. Apparently the 'Reserve' classification does not ensure protection and I read that the Reserve Title has recently been nullified!

Accommodation is offered in rustic but comfortable cabins with central dining area and research students are accommodated at minimal cost. The proprietor, Jose, an interesting North American is passionate about conservation and welcomes Australians. He indicated that previous Australian Governments had made donations to South American Conservation Funds, some of which had trickled down to Los Cedros - the intent, to safeguard the Cloud Forest for the essential precipitation it generates over the Northern Pacific and the cooling effect that this has on ocean temperatures which in turn helps ameliorate the El Nino effect and thus reduce the incidence of drought in Australia!

If any members are travelling to Ecuador, we strongly recommend you take a few days out to visit this beautiful Reserve. There are also opportunities for reforestation and community volunteer programs in the area. Suggest visiting Los Cedros Reserve for expanded information and phone numbers. Further info and access arrangements can also be found in the Lonely Planet - best of luck!


Nursery News

By Peter Dellow

Our two indigenous trainees Darren Caulfield and Joshua Anning finished their 12 month traineeships in February and March respectively. Both Darren and Joshua successfully completed Certificate II in Land Conservation and proved to be valuable members of the nursery team. Apart from their field based responsibilities preparing and maintaining restoration projects, both were instrumental in managing the nursery, maintaining seed collections and providing cultural talks to various groups including local schools involved in the TREAT on TAP program. Whilst it is disappointing to see staff trained up to then lose them when their traineeship finishes, it is satisfying to know their skills may be utilised elsewhere in healing country. We are currently in the process of recruiting two more trainees and hope to have them on board by the end of April.

In other staff news, Angelo Salerno will be on extended leave from Easter through to September. We all look forward to Angelo's return and will try our best to maintain his standard of maintenance on infrastructure and equipment.


Project Update - Peterson Creek

Now in it's 7th year, the Peterson Ck Linkage project aims to restore a forest linkage or corridor between Lake Eacham National Park and Curtain Fig State Forest. To date, TREAT and the nursery have planted more than 25 000 trees along Peterson Ck concentrating on the area between Lake Barrine Road and Peeramon Road. This year the project will see a further 6000 trees planted on the Burchill property downstream of Peeramon Road. This area is markedly different to what we have dealt with in previous years and is characterised by a seasonal wetland community dominated by Blue Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) and Swamp Mahogany (Lophostemon suaveolens).

Given this areas propensity to seasonal inundation, the planting was deliberately planned in 2 stages each of 3000 trees. The first stage was planted January 31 with the second stage planned for mid February. This strategy reflected the speculative forecast of an average wet season. Of course establishing plants early in the year improves their chances over the winter when frost events are likely. This particular site being a low point in the local landscape can be considered a double edged blade whereby an early season planting is at risk of inundation and a late season planting is vulnerable to frost. The decision was made to approach the job as a compromise and plant half the allocated number early in the season and then see what followed. Now in late March we have received the best wet season in three years and the site is now partially inundated and likely to remain so for some time. As a consequence we have reassessed the second stage planting and determined an early spring planting in September is now the most sensible approach as plants will escape any frost and receive 4 - 5 months to establish before the next wet season.

As well as shifting the second stage planting from Summer to Spring, there will also be a modification in the composition of species used. Observation of species performance in the first stage planting has allowed assessment of tolerance levels under the prevailing conditions. For example signature species like Blue Gum and River Oak have performed very well whereas certain species like Cordia and Lacewood have suffered in the saturated clay soil. In coming months nursery staff will use these results to propagate specific species in readiness for the spring planting. Fortunately Simon Burchill collected local provenance Swamp Mahogany earlier this year and Pink Bloodwood which is also present in remnant vegetation should ripen during May. Propagation of these sclerophyll or woodland species combined with existing stock in the nursery will offer a species matrix which more closely resembles the natural community and it's adaptive ability.

The 2004 Peterson Ck site has demonstrated the importance of recognising inherent environmental factors in the planning and implementation of restoration projects and how failure to do so may compromise economic, social and environmental outcomes.


Name Change for Eacham Shire Tree Planting Group

By Bronwyn Robertson

2003-2004 has been a busy year for tree planting in Eacham Shire - over 50 000 trees have been planted in a range of projects. The group also underwent a name change - the old Wet Tropics Tree Planting Scheme has now been renamed the Eacham Shire Community Revegetation Unit (CRU).

The CRU has again worked closely with community groups to continue revegetation work across the Shire. Malanda Landcare's Upper Johnstone Revegetation Project entered its 9th year, with well over 120 000 trees now planted through the project! Populations of tree kangaroos have moved in to some of the earlier plantings, which is encouraging. Over 20 properties are now involved in an effort to revegetate the whole of the Upper Johnstone Catchment. The next phase of this project will recreate links from Newlands Scrub over to large remnants along Seamark Road.

Some landholders involved in the Upper Johnstone Revegetation Project are now expanding their tree planting efforts to areas away from the river. The aim of this is to create refuge plots for dispersing tree kangaroos and other wildlife, as well as shade for cattle.

The CRU has been working with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and landholders to create a Nature Refuge along the Johnstone River, adjacent to the Hypsi rainforest at Fig Tree Close. As part of a recent subdivision application approved by Eacham Shire Council, the 60ha remnant of endangered Hypsi rainforest will now be protected in perpetuity. A further 2000 trees have also been planted through the project to improve the link between Fig Tree Close forest and the Nature Refuge. Green Ringtail Possums and Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroos are resident in the forest.

Thanks to all community groups, landholders and volunteers who have supported the work of the CRU over the past year, we look forward to continuing our tree planting with you next year!


Tree-roo Project

by Project Manager Larry Crook

The Tree Kangaroo & Mammal Group's Hypsi Forest and Tree-kangaroo Recovery Project (Envirofund) aims to establish rainforest linkages and increase habitat areas for tree-kangaroos and other animals.

Tree Kanagroo and Mammal Group

The project also aims to build on last year's TKMG/NHT project which planted nearly 3000 trees on Reg and Olive Waltham's property, near Millaa Millaa. The current project involves two properties either side of the Walthams - Daleys to the north and Wallers to the south. The Waltham plantings enhanced regrowth that links to the North Beatrice River (to Daley's) and provides for a corridor to the regrowth on the Waller property. The forest corridors provide safe movement for tree-kangaroos and other wildlife, added habitat and an added food source. The emphasis is on tree-kangaroos, so many of the trees being planted are food trees for this unique mammal. All the trees selected for this planting are local to this area.

672 trees were planted in April, in three sections, on John & Dianne Daley's property. These plantings link patches of advanced regrowth along the southern bank of the North Beatrice River. Part 2 of this planting will reafforest the river edge of Pat Daley Park, connecting the Daley plantings to the upstream remnant vegetation (Type 1b, i.e. Hypsi Forest) on the Park.

A further planting on the Daley property, of a large unused flat, is planned for the northern bank.

The second property involved is Alan and Sharon Waller's, over the road from the Waltham's. A planting of around 1500 trees in April filled in holes in a rainforest regrowth area, increasing the habitat size.

TKMG thanks TREAT members for participating in the plantings, and CTR for its contributions to the project.

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Tree Kangaroo Planting - What a Day!

By Karen Coombes

I thought I was organised but just as I was getting morning tea ready, the horde of volunteers came up from the spring. Finished in just 1 hour!

I couldn't believe it. 1000 trees in 1 hour? What a tremendous effort. You guys are unbelievable. Even some late corners were surprised and a little disappointed that they had missed out on planting a few trees. But never mind, there will be more to do in the years to come.

For those not familiar with our property, we have 65ha (175 acres) of mostly rainforest, with some cleared land (approx 50 acres), in Jaggan 5 kms from Malanda. It is 1b rainforest, now known as "Hypsi Forest" and is classed as endangered. The already cleared paddocks have several springs running through the gullies and this is where a female tree kangaroo and her offspring reside. We bought this property 5 years ago and by doing so saved it from being cleared by another prospective buyer. I must add here that the original owner did not want to see it cleared either.

I was immediately captivated by the local residents, tree kangaroos, and found myself embarking on a lifetime endeavour to know everything I possibly could about them, starting with a PhD at James Cook University. Even before starting my study, we had been watching the locals that live in the spring below the house that we had been building and we had got to know them pretty well.

Over the last 5 years we have seen a female have several joeys. Unfortunately we found the first one killed and ripped up by a dog. This was the first time we realised that these areas of riparian habitat along the springs were not big enough and were in dire need of expansion. These gullies are very small and we hope to enlarge and expand these areas for these animals and for the generations to come. So we embarked on a mission to replant quite a large area of rainforest and to link them up to the existing forest. It is too much for one planting so we are hoping to do a little each year, along with the few that Neil and I can manage to plant on our own from time to time.

After everyone left on the Saturday morning of the planting, Neil and I went down to set up the sprinklers and hand water all of the precious trees and, yes, I do believe that we triggered this rain. It has been raining almost constantly ever since, except for the occasional few days of sunshine. Hence, our young trees are very happy and growing well. We did worry a bit when then rain was so heavy, at the time of the cyclone that was hanging around, that we had a river running down the paddock and straight through the plot. Fortunately, we only lost one seedling that was washed down the spring never to be seen again.

For those of you expecting to see the local tree roos in the spring and were disappointed, I am truly sorry.

But she was watching. She came out after everyone had left, in the middle of the day, and sat up in the top of one of the tree ferns in clear view to have a good look at the great work you had all done.

So, we would like to thank you all immensely for all of your help, especially Peter Dellow and the gang. It was a great turnout and we couldn't have done it without you. We would also like to thank our pancake chef and offsider, Garrie and Lee. Cheers and I hope to see you all again next time.

Karen Coombes and Neil McLaughlan.


TREAT plantings 2004

By Joan Wright

Planting at Cherry Creek

TREAT began planting trees this year on a beautiful morning in mid-January. The weather was especially beneficent because later in the day, when we had all gone home, there was plenty of rain.

The planting was at John Hall's farm near Kairi and it completed a small planting project on Cherry Creek which was begun in 2003. About 35 people turned out and the 800 trees were quickly bedded down in the holes already dug by the CTR workers. Usually we plant rainforest trees but this time the mixture included many eucalypts and other water side trees because the farm is near Tinaroo and not in a rainforest area.

After work, the planters enjoyed cold drinks and tea and coffee at John's farm and he told us his tree planting story. Over ten years he has used several different schemes designed to help farmers re-forest their creeks and steep land, such as the CRRP and Department of Forestry as well as TREAT.

John believes that tree planting is a great investment for the future as well as a way to heal damaged riparian land. 'All you have to do sometimes is fence off the creek banks,' John told us, 'and the revegetation will happen by itself.'

Picnic Crossing Reserve Planting

Beside the Barron River near the Pinnacles there is an interesting forest known as Picnic Crossing Reserve. It bears one of the significant Mabi Forest remnants and is under the control of the Atherton Shire Council.

On Saturday January 24 TREAT members cooperated with the Mabi Forest Working Group to replant a small part of the Reserve. A group of dedicated tree planters not only laid out and planted 1000 Mabi trees but also dug the holes in the red basalt soil which had recently been ploughed by a farmer. Trowels and a small motorised auger were used to good effect and rain fell the next day.

No grant money was available for this planting and the Working Group was grateful to the volunteers for the work and the Eacham Shire Community Revegetation Unit and Lake Eacham nursery for the trees.

Picnic Crossing Reserve is an interesting historical forest. The road which runs round the reserve was the only one leading to a crossing of the Barron River in the old days. Local people made a rock-bar crossing at the reserve and a pub and some houses were built before there was any bridge higher upstream. The whole area is also significant to the local indigenous people.

Tree Planting on the Harold West Walking Track, Millaa Millaa

The morning of Saturday February 21 2004 dawned bright and fair and tree planters gathered eagerly at the Harold West Track in Millaa Millaa.

TREAT members joined with the Millaa Millaa group, and Nigel's help in laying out the trees was invaluable. The 200 trees were provided from the Lake Eacham nursery and were used to fill in gaps in the forest lining the walking track.

A lively group of children helped enthusiastically. They had taken part in the TREAT on TAP program in the week previously and put in to practice what they had learned about the value of trees.

When all the trees were in the ground on either side of the delightful St Patrick's Creek, the planters gathered for refreshment and Harold West joined in. Harold told us how he came to plant up the track years ago and also about the many trees this former timber-worker had put in round the district.

TREAT members think that Millaa Millaa is very lucky to have such a beautiful track beside the creek right in the heart of the town, well cared for by the active citizens.

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GABI OR KARPE FIG? THE FRUIT OF THE MONTH

By Tony Irvine

"Hey! Look at this! Here are some Banana Figs," shouted Sam McCoy to Betty Bunyji and Danny Janggaburru as they were coming out of the Curtain Fig Mabi Forest. It had been pretty tough walking through the dense shrubby understory of the Mabi forest and several times they had been scratched by the numerous Fishtail Lawyer Vine (Calamus caryotoides) which was scrambling over the shrubs. "Don't you learn nothin," teased Danny. "They're not buda (Yidiny for Ficus crassipes)." "They're wugar. You won't find buda figs in Mabi Forest, they occur in wetter scrub whereas wugar occurs in both types of scrub. Don't you remember the Banana Figs (buda) were the ones we found that time we got lost in the bush and had a feed on them when we were very hungry and needed some energy." "That's right," said Betty who knew some words of the neighbouring Yidiny language, "but in our language (Ngajon) we call these wugar figs, gabi."

"Gee, they look like Banana Figs," said Sam. "Yes they do," agreed Danny "but don't you remember that the buda fruit had an elongated nipple on the end whereas if you look at the end of wugar fruit, it looks like two warty, blunt lobes. You can also notice some long ribs on wugar fruit whereas the fruit wall of buda (Banana Fig) is smooth." "Besides," said Betty, "look at the large, long leaves of gabi whereas the leaves of banbu (Banana Fig) are rounder and shorter than gabi leaves. And another thing, see these long, thin, apricot-coloured structures on the ground, which that bloke Peter, from National Parks, told me are called stipules. Well, underneath banbu, these stipules are shorter, more triangular and are red when they fall. Peter told me that the English name for this fig is Karpe. I said to him, that's the same as our name gabi. Obviously whoever wrote our name down for the fig in English, was not aware of how a linguist, like Bob Dixon who studied our language, would write it down. I reckon it would be better if the English name was changed to Gabi because it helps to follow a consistent system when spelling our language. By the way, that bloke Peter also told me, its funny scientific name. Ficus pleurocarpa, he said. Gosh, I would hate to learn that language. All my people look at me in a funny way when I strut around telling them the one scientific language name that I have learnt - Ficus pleurocarpa. She's gone mad, they reckon. Others say, gee, she knows a lot."

Danny piped in that the person who gave the fig its English name must have obviously been with Ngajonji people and that if they had been with Yidinyji people, they would have probably called it wugar. "Like buda, we made blankets from the bark of the wugar tree." "The Ngajonji people also made blankets from the bark," said Betty.

"Can you eat the fruit of Gabi," asked Sam. "Yes," both Danny and Betty chorused, "but you need to cut the fruit longways and scrape the seeds out with a stick. Here try this yellow fruit." Sam did as they told him and sampled the flesh. "Uuugh!" said Sam, "It's as sour as hell." Danny and Betty laughed and at the same time apologised. "We shouldn't have done that to you. Here try this red one," which they had already prepared. "Aww, this is much better," said Sam as he sampled the sweet acidulous flesh, "but I will trick you two, one of these days."


Nursery Sowing List

Species NameCommon Name
Abrophyllum ornans Native Hydrangea
Aceratium doggrellii Buff Carabeen
Acmenosperma claviflorum Grey Satinash
Aglaia sapindina Boodyarra
Aleurites rockinghamensis Candlenut
Alphitonia petriei Pink Ash
Alphitonia whitei Red Ash
Anthocarapa nitidula Incensewood
Aphananthe philippinensis Grey Handlewood
Austromuellera trinervia Mueller's Silky Oak
Blepharocarya involucrigera Rose Butternut
Callistemon viminalis Drooping Bottlebrush
Capparis ornans Showy Caper (vine)
Corymbia intermedia Pink Bloodwood
Cryptocarya triplinervis Brown Laurel
Darlingia darlingiana Brown Silky Oak
Dysoxylum mollissimum ssp.molle Miva Mahogany
Dysoxylum parasiticum Yellow Mahogany
Elaeocarpus coorangooloo Brown Quandong
Emmenosperma alphitonioides Bonewood
Eucalyptus crebra Narrow Leaved Red Iron Bark
Euroschinus falcata Pink Poplar
Ficus congesta Red Leaf Fig
Ficus copiosa Plentiful Fig
Ficus fraseri Sandpaper Fig
Ficus hispida Hairy Fig
Ficus microcarpa Indian Laurel Fig
Ficus obliqua Small leaf fig, Figwood
Ficus superba Superb Fig
Ficus watkinsiana Watkin's Fig
Flindersia brayleyana Queensland Maple
Homalanthus novoguineensis Bleeding Heart
Mallotus mollissimus Woolly Mallotus, Kamala
Mallotus philippensis Red Kamala
Melodinus australis Bellbird Vine
Melodorum leichhardtii Acid Drop Vine, Zig-Zag Vine
Mischocarpus lachnocarpus Woolly Pear Fruit
Mischocarpus pyriformis Pear Fruited Tamarind
Pararistolochia deltantha Native Dutchman's Pipe
Pilidiostigma tropicum Apricot Myrtle
Pipturus argenteus Native Mulberry
Podocarpus dispermus Broad Leaved Brown Pine
Pullea stutzeri Hard Alder
Rhodamnia sessiliflora Iron Mallett Wood
Rhodamnia spongiosa Northern Mallett Wood
Rhodomyrtus pervagata Rusty Rhodomyrtus
Rhodomyrtus sericea Grey Rhodomyrtus
Sarcotoechia serrata Fern Leaved tamarind
Sloanea australis Blush Alder
Sloanea langii White Carabeen
Stenocarpus sinuatus Fire Wheel Tree
Syzygium australe Creek Cherry
Syzygium tierneyanum River Cherry
Terminalia sericocarpa Damson
Toona ciliata Red Cedar
Trema orientalis Poison Peach

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