TREAT Newsletter January 2001

PLANTING DATES FOR 2001

PUT THE FOLLOWING DATES IN YOUR DIARY!

There are four large community plantings this year, all but one (Mazlin Creek) will have a barbecue afterwards; all are on a Saturday and all start at the later time of 9.00 am - this will give people coming from afar and those with children, an extra hour to get there and plant a few trees.

Saturday 27th January Walter Hill Ranges Project - Massey Creek Details

Saturday 10th February Mazlin Creek Project

Katenburg property - Beantree Road Bridge - Follow the signs from the Atherton- Kairi or Atherton - Tolga Road.

Saturday 3rd March East Evelyn Road Project

Catch the bus from the Lake Eacham Nursery (See article Trial Wildlife Underpasses) Parking on- site is very limited, but if you decide to drive, turn into East Evelyn Road either from the Palmerston Highway just before MiIIaa MiIIaa, or from the Kennedy Highway and park at the lookout - watch for the signs.

Saturday 31st March Peterson Creek Project

If you want more information on any of the plantings phone project managers:

Massey Creek ..........Nigel Tucker (4095 3406)

Mazlin Creek ..........Helen Adams (4091 4792)

East Evelyn Road.........John Hall (4095 8706)

Peterson Creek.......... Dan Murphy (4096 3339)

Two other smaller community plantings will be held in March and May. Phone the nursery for more information (4095 3406)

17th March 9.00 am World Wide Fund for Nature project - Anderson Road, Malanda

5th May 1.00 pm Coastal planting of the Walter Hills Range Project, providing links for the Cassowary, near El Arish.



Inside this issue

Are we planting Carbon Sinks?

CRC Surveys

Seed Sowing list

Replanting the Rainforest

Fruit of the month

Trainees from Thailand

Trial Wildlife Under -Passes

TREAT WEBSITE

Kids Page

Book Reviews


Are we planting carbon sinks?

People plant trees for many different reasons. Members of TREAT and the QPWS nursery plant them for environmental reasons, nature conservation, to hold creek banks in place, to create wildlife corridors and so on. Private landholders plant trees for agroforestry, or stock grazing among potential timber trees. Tree planting may be an investment for the future and it is certainly an important part of programs dealing with soil salination.

In recent discussions about tree planting and improving the quality of the atmosphere, we have heard the word 'carbon credits'. It is interesting to consider this term and think what it means as well as what it promises. In a world which is rightly concerned about the threat of climate change due to the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, some people place their faith in mopping up carbon dioxide so that society may continue to emit the gas from its industries, vehicles and land use. It is trees on which they are pinning their hopes.

It is true that plants can absorb carbon dioxide from the air. They take it into-the green leaves, make carbohydrates using the energy of sunlight and emit oxygen as a waste product. This process, called photosynthesis, is essential to life on this planet.

Trees remove carbon dioxide only when they are actively growing (ie. when they are covered with young, green leaves) and only in sunlight.

At night, plants respire just as animals do and give out carbon dioxide. The gas is also set free when trees are burned or when they rot, and forest fires are obviously disastrous to the balance of gases.

The nations of the world are making efforts to curb global warming by means of the Kyoto Protocol which was discussed in the Hague in November. Some nations, including Australia, want to be able to continue to emit carbon dioxide and they hope to justify this by providing 'carbon sinks', that is, by planting extensive new plantation forests. No agreement was reached at the Hague and more discussions will take place in May 2001.

Such 'carbon sink' forests would need to cover many thousands of hectares of land, would need to be young and healthy and would need to be carefully managed, including protection from fires. Economists and the business world will have to work out a system of 'carbon credits' whereby nations, large manufacturing concerns, etc, could invest in large scale plantations, thus allowing them to go on with carbon dioxide producing activities (such as our own cars!). The carbon credits system has not yet been set up.

A note of warning has been sounded by a researcher from the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Austria. Sten Nilsson has posted his comments on his web site www.iiasa.ac.at. He said, 'The scientific uncertainties in measuring carbon movements in and out of ecosystems are just too great. By opening up the whole biosphere to actions under the Kyoto Protocol, governments have made it completely unverifiable'.

It would seem that making sure the great green 'carbon sinks' of the future are reliably disposing of the carbon dioxide from the world's transport and industry is not yet scientifically possible. The discussions in the Hague failed because the whole question is difficult and nations naturally protect their own interests.

In the opinion of many people, we should all cooperate in slashing the worlds use of fossil fuels and continue our tree planting for our own good, proven reasons.


Fruit of the Month

by Nigel Tucker.

Castanospora alphandii - Brown Tamarind

What does the name mean?

(castanea = chestnut-like, spora = seed., alphandi = M. Alphandi, the author of a book about the gardens of Paris!)

A rain forest tree suitable for planting in many areas, Brown Tamarind is a widespread species from the family Sapindaceae (meaning soap trees from India!). Occurring as far south as northern NSW, this hardy tree can be found growing on a range of soil types, and its distribution down Queensland's east coast gives some hint of its wide climatic tolerance. It is however, found only in Australia, and is a monotypic genus, meaning it is the only member of the genus Castanospora.

Brown Tamarind is most commonly encountered as a sub-canopy tree though it can grow to 35m. It has large fruits (20-30mm x 30-60mm), borne in bunches along and at the ends of the branches, varying in colour from reddish pink to brown and have a furry, felt-like texture. Within each fruit are two brown seeds (15-25mm x 20-30mm) with a shiny polished exterior. Fruits are available October (lowlands) to February (highlands).

Leaves (in this case, 'leaflets') are compound, alternate/opposite along the rachis (the extension of the petiole which bears the leaflets), averaging 10cms wide and 15cms long. They have a characteristically white undersurface which feels slightly 'velvety', and the new leaves are light green. Flowers are cream and en-masse, though fairly inconspicuous.

Sow it fresh, and expect between 80 and 90% of the seed to germinate between 21 and 30 days. Pot them on when the seedlings are around 100-200mm high, and plant them at 400-500mm high. They are reasonably tolerant of degraded sites, and recommended for planting in all areas, with the possible exception of poorly drained sites on the coastal lowlands. Growth is not fast, but not slow either.

'Repairing the Rainforest' records this as a Framework Species for most areas, because of its prominence in the diet of key seed dispersers such as cassowaries and flying foxes, and quite simply its site adaptability.


CRC Surveys

by Nigel Tucker.

In November researchers from a number of disciplines joined together to begin a major evaluation of restoration work here in north Queensland. The project involved botanists, zoologists, ornithologists and ecologists surveying 50 sites across the Atherton Tablelands. Sites ranged from ecological restoration plots established by TREAT, QPWS and WTTPS, through to private and Crown timber plantations and mature forest. We also sampled cattle pasture and 'matrix' sites (sites where natural regrowth has occurred, usually along gully lines.) This provided a wide spectrum of sites and will hopefully allow us an insight into how restoration fosters recovery of degraded ecosystems.

We established transects 100m long and 5m wide through each of the 50 sites and looked at a number of attributes at each site. These included identification of all plants occurring within the study zone and the structural attributes of each. Also identified were all the birds present, and pitfall traps were installed to enable identification of the leaf litter invertebrates at each site. Rather than trap small mammals, zoologist John Kanowski placed small piles of nuts and seeds along the transect and looked at the rate of nut removal as an indicator of small mammal presence. John also wrapped sunflower seeds in plasticine and examined what had tried to eat the seeds based on the teeth or beak marks left in the plasticine. (Not surprisingly, nothing ate the actual plasticine.) Using all these 'bio-indicators', we should have a much clearer picture of the wildlife present in the various sites, and a better idea of the relative value of restoration sites to these organisms.

There were a number of interesting observations made during our time in the field, though not all were positive. One particularly alarming discovery was the spread of the exotic magnolia Magnolia virginianum (aka 'Tree of Heaven') into farm forestry and restoration plantings in a number of areas. A native of the America's, this tree has been commonly planted in both the Eacham and Atherton Shire's as a specimen tree for its large and fragrant, orange flowers. These flowers develop a long 'bean like' cluster of green fruits which individually split to reveal a single seed inside. The seed is most likely dispersed by fruit eating birds, giving it the potential to be moved distances of 100m to 300m. Most worrying of all was the plant's ability to germinate and persist in fairly deep shade, the kind of environment found in relatively small tree fall gaps in mature rain forest.

If you have planted this tree in your yard and you live relatively close to a patch of rain forest you should now think seriously about removing it. Similarly, if you know a friend or neighbour who has one in the yard in a similar situation, let them know as well. If you live in town or on the coastal lowlands the plant is probably not a concern, however if we recognise its weed potential now and eradicate it where appropriate, the problem can be averted. Unfortunately we often fail to detect these incursions early enough and then face costly, chemical control campaigns. Being pro-active now may save this cost. The nursery will happily provide a more appropriate replacement for any M. virginianum you decide to remove!


Nursery News First Quarter 2001

Trainees from Thailand.

In February 2000, Nigel Tucker was invited to speak at a restoration conference in northern Thailand, and whilst there took the opportunity to promote our training service to SE Asian delegates. Interest was shown by a number of countries, bearing fruit when 3 members of the Forestry and National Parks Department of Thailand undertook 7 weeks intensive training at CTR over December and January. This training was funded by a Danish foreign aid program.

During their stay, Chana, Prasert and Chudchawan undertook a range of activities focusing mainly on restoration, but also other QPWS work including indigenous management, fire monitoring, planning, extension and interpretation. To vary their program, trainees also spent time with staff from the Qld Forest Research Institute, Wet Tropics Management Authority and James Cook University. It is hoped this training will provide these managers with more options for managing their rapidly dwindling biological resources.

Congratulations to Peter Dellow who was chiefly responsible for putting together the nuts and bolts of the program, and also to Nick Stevens who undertook much of the organisational and logistical support. This was the 4th group of international trainees who spent time with us last year and we hope to increase this over the 2001 year.

Nursery News

Good early season rains have allowed an early start to the planting season and members and CTR staff have been busy every Friday morning undertaking plantings of 300-500 trees on members properties, in addition to Friday morning working bees. These events have proved very popular and will continue for a couple of months yet. If you would like to get involved give us a call at CTR.


QPWS Centre for Tropical Restoration

Seed sowing list: October - December 2000

October
Acronychia acidula
Buckinghamia celsissima
Castanospermum australe
Chionanthus ramiflorus
Cryptocarya lividula
Cryptocarya mackinnoniana
Cupaniopsis anacardioides
Decaspermum humile
Dianella caerulea
Diploglottis diphyllostegia
Elaeocarpus ruminatus
Emmenospermum alphitonioides
Eugenia reinwardtiana
Ficus septica
Ficus virgata
Ficus watkinsiana
Flindersia acuminata
Flindersia pimentiliana
Glochidion hylandii
Glochidion spp.
Lomandra longifolia
Pitaviaster haplophylla
Prunus turneriana
Syzygium wesa
Toechima erythrocarpum
November
Acmena resa
Cardwellia sublimis
Chionanthus ramiflorus
Commersonia bartrama
Diploglottis diphyllostegia
Elaeocarpus eumundi
Eleaocarpus ruminatus
Endiandra sideroxylon
Ficus obliqua var. obliqua
Ficus pleurocarpa
Glochidion hylandii
Glochidion philippicum
Harpullia flagelliformis
Lomatia fraxinifolia
Mischocarpus grandissimus
Mischocarpus macrocarpus
mixed Lauraceae
Prunus turneriana
Sarcopteryx martyana
Syzygium fibrosum
Trichospermum pleiostigma
Xanthostemon chrysanthus
December
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acmenospermum claviflorum
Aglaia sapindina
Argyrodendron trifoliolatum
Athertonia diversifolia
Carallia brachiata
Cardwellia sublimis
Cassowary gunna
Cinnamomum laubatii
Corynocarpus cribbianus
Cryptocarya hypospodia
Cryptocarya mackinnoniana
Cryptocarya oblata
Dillenia alata
Dysoxylum gaudichaudianum
Dysoxylum parasiticum
Elaeocarpus foveolatus
Elaeocarpus largiflorens
Elaeocarpus ruminatus
Endiandra sideroxylon
Euroschinus falcata
Faradaya splendida
Ficus congesta
Ficus copiosa
Ficus crassipes
Ficus destruens
Ficus fraserii
Ficus obliqua var. obliqua
Ficus pleurocarpa
Ficus superba
Ficus virens
Flindersia brayleyana
Flindersia pimentiliana
Ganophyllum falcatum
Gmelina fasciculiflora
Gomphandra australiensis
Harpullia flagelliformis
Hymenosporum flavum
Macaranga tanarius
Micromelium minutum
Podocarpus grayae
Pouteria castanospora
Prunus turneriana
Ptychosperma elegans
Rauwenhoffia leichardtii
Rhodamnia spp.
Rhysotoechia robertsonii
Syzygium kuranda
Terminalia sericocarpa
Waterhousea hedraiophylla
Xanthostemon chrysanthus

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TREAT INFO-NOTES

REPLANTING THE RAINFOREST NO.3: PLANTING OUT

BACKGROUND

You have done your planning ahead (see Info-Note No. 1). If you chose the Framework Species Method or the Maximum Diversity Method to replant the rainforest, you will be planting out small trees.

It is now time to plant the new forest, and you will need to consider a number of points, including:

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO PLANT OUT?

Two matters must be considered when deciding when to plant out the young trees:

  1. the availability of water for the establishing young tree, and
  2. the size of the small tree.

Availability of water

During the preparation of your site (see Info-Note No. 2), you will have removed any unwanted plants and may have left the soil more exposed than usual. To decrease the likelihood of loss of soil from the site due to erosion, these operations were completed when there was the lowest possibility of heavy rainfalls, ie during the winter/spring 'dry' in a tropical climate. However, the 'dry' is not the most opportune time to plant-out small trees.

However, if your site is prone to frost, you will need to plant out in early spring to give the trees time to develop a woody stem that can resist frost damage or will develop suckers from the base following frost damage. Because rainfall is unreliable during spring in tropical climates, you will need to provide a supply of water on a regular basis should you need to complete a spring planting.

Young trees establish more quickly when they are planted out when rains are frequent, ie during the summer 'wet' in a tropical climate. Plan your planting to begin after the wet season has commenced.

However, if your site is a flood prone area, or becomes very boggy after frequent rains, plan your planting out towards the end of the wet season.

Size of plant

Make sure your small trees are the correct size before you plan your planting out. Rainforest species establish quicker when they are 50 cm to 60 cm high at transplanting. Sclerophyll species such as Eucalyptus and Acacia species should be about 20 cm to 30 cm high at planting out. Pioneer species (see box below) should be around 30 cm.

Staking transplanted seedlings should be avoided at all times because it leads to weak stems. If the young plants are too tall to stand upright without support after transplanting, trim the stem, starting at the top and working down until it stands upright by itself.

Some common pioneer species used in tropical climates

  • Aleurites rockinghamensis
  • Alphitonia incarna
  • Alphitonia petriei
  • Macaranga tanarius
  • Mallotus mollissimus
  • Mallotus paniculatus
  • Mallotus philippensis
  • Omalanthus novo-guineensis
  • Polyscias elegans
  • Polyscias murrayi
  • Rockingham Candlenut
  • Philippine Sarsaparilla
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Blush Macaranga
  • Woolly Mallotus
  • Turn in the Wind
  • Red Kamala
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Celerywood
  • White Basswood

HOW TO TRANSPLANT

Planting out is one of the most satisfying parts of the job of rehabilitation, but must be done with care. Remember you have invested at least 9 months of your time and some of your money in getting to this stage - planning your approach; studying your site; contacting landholders; drawing site plans; raising seedling stock; clearing the site; and preparing the soil for replanting. All that time and effort is wasted if you do not take the utmost care to make sure that the young trees become successfully established.

The accompanying diagram shows the stages to be followed in transplanting a young tree. The first step in planting out is to "harden-off' the young trees in the nursery by placing them in full sun for more than a month prior to planting into the field.

Dig the hole for the young tree. If a large number of trees are to be planted, a motorised hole auger can save a lot of time and effort, especially if the soil is relatively loose and free of old tree roots and rocks. Plant them in rows for ease of later maintenance if you wish or plant them randomly about 1.5 m to 2.0 m apart. Make sure that the hole is somewhat wider and deeper than the root ball of the tree to be transplanted by placing the tree still within its container into the hole (see diagram). It is important to make sure that the new roots have enough room to grow into during the next few months of the establishment phase.

Fertilise the planting hole before planting the tree. Add a small handful of a complete fertiliser (about 50 grams) such as blood and bone or similar organically based fertiliser to the hole. Mix the fertiliser thoroughly with some of the soil in the bottom of the hole and cover the soil-fertiliser mixture with a small amount of soil. Alternatively, you could mix half the fertiliser with the soil in the bottom of the hole, and apply the remainder of the fertiliser, again mixed with soil, to the top of the plant after planting out has been completed.

Remove the plant from its container. Disturb the root ball as little as possible. If the root mass is tightly bound or 'root bound', gently tease the outside and bottom of the root ball with your fingers to loosen some of the roots.

Place the plant carefully in the hole and back-fill the hole with soil. Form a saucer around the stem to trap water, using the soil removed when the hole was dug.

Immediately after planting, apply at least 10 litres of water to expel air pockets and settle the soil against the roots of the young tree.

HOW TO PLANT OUT

  1. Check that the hole is deeper and wider than the root ball of the tree.
  2. Add fertiliser and mix with soil in bottom of hole; cover with some soil.
  3. Remove the plant from the pot or bag; cut the bag along one side.
  4. Place the plant in the hole and carefully back-fill the hole with soil.
  5. Form a saucer to trap water around the stem with the remainder of the soil.
  6. Water in well or plant when raining.

MAINTENANCE AFTER PLANTING OUT

Mulching and weed control

Weeds, especially tropical grasses, can choke out the young trees. Invading weeds must be sprayed or grubbed-out or controlled by mulches. An organic mulch such as straw can be applied to the whole area, or to an area within 1 m of the base of the tree and the remaining area sprayed to kill germinating weeds. Be very careful not to spray the young trees.

Mowing or brushcutting the weeds is not recommended because the roots continue to grow and steal water and nutrients from the establishing young tree. There is also the risk of damage to the young tree when mowing or brushcutting.

Regular weed control will be unnecessary when the canopy of the trees closes and light levels are lowered. With good weed control, this will occur in about 12 months in tropical lowland areas and within about 18 months in tropical upland locations.

After canopy closure, the edges of the planting will provide the major problem areas. If possible, maintain a 3 m buffer strip by mowing, slashing or spraying. This strip acts as both a firebreak and a buffer against invading weeds and grasses.

When the planting is nearer maturing, the edge can be filled in with vines (eg October Surprise (Faradaya splendida), Kangaroo Vine (Cissus antartica), Milla Vine (Elaeagnus triflora), or Wait-a-whiles (Calamus spp.) or bushy species from the Lillipilli (Syzygium spp.) and Satinash (Acmena spp.) groups.

Fertilising the trees

Applying fertilisers every 4 weeks during the main growth season is an important part of after care. Firstly, remove the surface mulch. Then apply a good handful (about 500 grams of an organic fertiliser or 100 grams of a complete inorganic fertiliser) of fertiliser to each tree, sprinkling it on the top of the soil 20-30 cm from the stem. Cover the fertiliser by replacing the surface mulch. By the end of the second year, fertilising can stop because the trees will be well grown and leaf litter will be returning nutrients to the soil.


Trainees from Thailand

In February 2000, Nigel Tucker was invited to speak at a restoration conference in northern Thailand, and whilst there took the opportunity to promote our training service to SE Asian delegates. Interest was shown by a number of countries, bearing fruit when 3 members of the Forestry and National Parks Department of Thailand. Undertook 7 weeks intensive training at CTR over - December and January. This training was funded by a Danish foreign aid program.

During their stay, Chana, Prasert and Chudchawan undertook a range of activities focusing mainly on restoration, but also other QPWS work including indigenous management, fire monitoring, planning, extension and interpretation. To vary their program, trainees also spent time with staff from the Old: Forest Research Institute, Wet Tropics Management Authority and James Cook Uni. It is hoped this training will provide these managers with more options for managing their rapidly dwindling biological resources.

Congratulations to Peter Dellow who was chiefly responsible for putting together the nuts and bolts of the program, and also to Nick Stevens who undertook much of the organisational and logistical support. This was the 4th group of international trainees who spent time with us last year and we hope to increase this over the 2001 year.

Good early season rains have allowed an early start to the planting season and members CTR staff have been busy every Friday morning undertaking plantings of 300 - 500 trees on members properties, in addition to Friday morning working bees. These events have proved very popular and will continue for a couple of months yet. If you would like to get involved give us a call at CTR.


TREAT helps with a trial of wildlife under-passes

If anyone has visited the MiIlaa Millaa Lookout lately they will have seen the big earthworks which are part of the realignment of the East Evelyn Road to Ravenshoe by the Main Roads Department.

The road goes through rainforest that is home to all the different species of Tableland possums, tree kangaroos, cassowaries and many other creatures.

In an effort to make the new road safer for wildlife, four under-passes will be installed at places where there is rainforest nearby. The under-passes are concrete tunnels several metres high and wide and the floors will be made natural with logs, stones, etc. They have been designed by the wildlife researcher Miriam Goosem and the Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group.

TREAT is making a contribution by planning to plant trees of the same mix of species as the local forest (Type 5A) at each end of one of the underpasses on Saturday 3rd March. 2001. The 4000 young trees are ready at the nursery.

This will be rather a different planting and volunteers are invited to put it in their diary for 2001. Buses will be available to take volunteers to the site from the nursery and probably from Ravenshoe. A bus will leave the Lake Eacham Nursery at 8.00am on 3rd March and places should be reserved. Planters can go in their own cars but parking at the site is restricted. Very limited parking is available at the Millaa Millaa Lookout. Information about the Ravenshoe bus will be available at the Environment/ Information Centre.

A sausage sizzle will be held after the planting at the Millaa Millaa Lookout which is high above the planting site.

TREAT will present its TREAT on TAP educational program at the Millaa Millaa Primary School in February. This will help the students to appreciate the beauty of the nearby forest and the effort being made to mitigate the effect of the road on the wildlife.


Tree Planting - Massey Creek

Saturday 27th January, 2001

come and join in!

Come and help us out at the Massey Creek site to strengthen the rainforest links from the southern Tablelands to lowland forests along the Walter Hill Ranges.

Bushcare

The trees you plant will:

Meet at the site on the Old Palmerston Highway near Massey Creek at 9.00am. Bring along hats, drinks and sunscreen and stay for the free BBQ lunch.

For more information phone Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Centre for Tropical Restoration 4095 3406.

This project is a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Centre for Tropical Restoration initiative in partnership with TREAT and has been funded by the Natural Heritage Trust.


TREAT WEBSITE...

www.TREAT.net.au

Don't forget, we have our own website, it is full of interesting material with lots of links. In the last two months we have only had 48 'visitors' to the web page - there should be more, after all we are a dynamic organisation! So, why not get your friends to pay a visit! If you want to know more, give Simon Burchill send an e-mail; he maintains it and can answer any query..

E-mail: Doug Burchill Email Now..

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