TREAT Newsletter No 22 - May 1999

TREAT NEWS Editor: Dan Murphy

Items are included in "Treat News" for their interest to members and do not necessarily express treat's views.

COMING EVENTS

May 8th - Coastal Tree Planting, El Arish.

June 19th - Field Day, 40 Mile Scrub National Park

August 7th - Field Day, Direct Seeding Trials, Danbulla & Pelican Point.

August 20th - TREAT AGM - Friday Morning, Lake Eacham Nursery. CORRECTION NOW FRIDAY THE 27th AUGUST.

September 25th - Social Moonlight Cruise/Dinner, Lake Barrine.


COME & JOIN IN! TREE PLANTING AT EL ARISH
Whing Creek, Saturday 8th May, 1999 at 1 pm

TREAT AGMAugust 27th 1999

TAX INCENTIVESFor Rural Landowners who Plant Trees

PETERSON CREEK PLANTING SUCCESS

MARSUPIALS IN THE MIST

FRUIT OF THE MONTH by Tony Irvine

MASSEY CREEK 1999 by Joan Wright

NURSERY NEWS

TREAT ON THE WEB

COMING EVENTS


COME & JOIN IN! TREE PLANTING AT EL ARISH

Whing Creek, Saturday 8th May, 1999 at 1 pm

Come along and be part of a very important community conservation initiative.

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, TREAT, local farmers, BSES and other tree planters are joining forces to plant thousands of trees over the next three years - and we need your help!

Come and help us plant trees in the second year of the Whing Creek site to help strengthen the rainforest links from the southern Tablelands with lowland forests along the Walter Hill Ranges.

Cassowary Map access to Whing Creek Planting site

The trees you plant will:

Meet at the Mission Beach turn-off (see map) at 1 pm. Bring along hats, sunscreen, drinks, and stay for the free BBQ.

For more information phone the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Lake Eacham Regional Nursery on (07) 4095 3406.

This project is supported by a grant from the Natural Heritage Trust.


TREAT AGM

TREAT held the first of two Annual General Meetings scheduled for the 1999 year on the 19th March in the Yungaburra Community Hall. As advised in the previous edition of TREAT NEWS, the Dept of Consumer Affairs (the body which administers the Associations Incorporation's Act) required TREAT to hold two AGMs this year so that we could align auditing and reporting requirements with the financial year (refer TREAT NEWS No: 21 January 1999).

Existing Office bearers and committee members were unanimously re-elected to their positions for the forthcoming year. Don't forget the second AGM for 1999. It will be held on Friday morning 20th August at the Lake Eacham Nursery. Elections will not be held at this AGM. Audited accounts for the six month period 1st January - 30th June will be presented. Thereafter we will return to a single AGM to be held in August/ September each year.

CORRECTION THE SECOND TREAT AGM FOR 1999 WILL NOW BE HELD ON THE 27th AUGUST 1999 AT THE LAKE EACHAM REGIONAL NURSERY.


TAX INCENTIVES

For Rural Landowners who Plant Trees

Tax incentives have been available for many years to encourage rural landholders to undertake landcare activities. These concessions are briefly explained in a new brochure recently published by the Australian Taxation Office - a copy can be obtained by phoning 1800 060 425.

Members may not be aware that among the many concessions, some are available for planting trees - and a good deal of the associated works as well. A few examples are listed below, but it must be remembered, the Commissioner of Taxation is ultimately responsible for any decision or ruling on individual tax matters.


PETERSON CREEK PLANTING SUCCESS

Eighty enthusiastic volunteers participated in Stage 2 of the Peterson Creek Revegetation Project on Saturday January 30th, planting 4000 trees. The project is a joint initiative between TREAT (Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands) and the Lake Eacham Regional Nursery (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service). Natural Heritage Trust funds back the project which aims to rebuild "stepping stones" of native vegetation between the isolated Lake Eacham National Park and Curtain Fig forest near Yungaburra.

Around 15000 trees will be planted on Peterson Creek over the three year funding period along with an extensive monitoring program looking at colonisation of planted areas by birds, small mammals, reptiles and frogs.

The community really needs to be congratulated for getting behind the project and giving us so much support. Its obvious that many locals understand the importance of re-establishing vegetation along creeks to link up forest remnants, not only for the benefit it offers wildlife but also for erosion control and improvements to the in-stream environment.


MARSUPIALS IN THE MIST

John Kanowski, a PhD student with CSIRO Tropical Forest Research Centre at Atherton gave an informative and thought provoking account of his research to TREAT members at the recent AGM in Yungaburra. John has been investigating the distribution of leaf-eating marsupials in the Wet Tropics.

Tree Kangaroo

John explained to the group that almost all of the endemic leaf eating marsupials in the Wet Tropics (such as the Lemuroid Ringtail possum, Green Ringtail possum, Daintree River Ringtail possum, Herbert River Ringtail possum and Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo) are restricted to high elevation forests. Their restricted distribution is not explained however by the usual suspects of leaf chemistry, tree species composition, the availability of dens or predation. The upland distribution of these folivores is probably a response to temperature, with the folivores well adapted to the cooler temperatures of the Tablelands and mountains, but poorly adapted to the hot lowlands. John pointed out that if this is so, the prospect of global warming has some obvious implications. That is, climatically suitable habitat for the folivores will be forced higher up mountains, and perhaps 'off the top' of some areas, as temperatures increase.

John has pointed out that most of the folivores are more abundant in forests on nutrient-rich basalt soils than nutrient-poor granites, rhyolites and metamorphics. This pattern is entirely consistent with variation in leaf chemistry with geology. In other words, forests on basalt soils have more nutritious, less toxic leaves. The trees on the richer soils are also likely to grow faster and produce more new leaves per unit time/ unit area, which would favour the folivores (which generally prefer to eat tender new leaves rather than tough mature leaves).

Green Ringtail Possum

John felt that his research findings had several implications for revegetation projects with conservation objectives. First, as temperatures rise due to global warming, high elevation sites are likely to become increasingly important for the folivores. Second, enriched parts of the landscape (basalt soils, riparian areas in various geologies) will probably have a greater carrying capacity for folivores than poor soils. Third, the typical TREAT planting, with a mix of pioneer species and a diversity of climax species, probably offers a good source of food for the folivores (including those species which consume a restricted set of plant taxa). However, food is not the only limiting resource. Hollow-denning folivores such as the Lemuroid and Herbert River Ringtail possums may require the provision of artificial dens to be able to inhabit revegetated areas - at least in the short term.

If anyone would like more information on John's research he can be contacted at CSIRO Tropical Forest Research Centre, PO Box 780, Atherton Q 4883.


FRUIT OF THE MONTH

by Tony Irvine

Rockingham Candlenut (Aleurites rockinghamensis)

Did you notice during the month of March and early April, on the hillsides, on the way to Cairns or passing through Tableland forests, many trees standing out with whitish crowns? If you didn't then you were most unobservant. These whitish crowns belonged to the Rochingham Candlenut Tree and were caused by the whitish new leaves and white flowers that were appearing as the mature fruit was beginning to fall.

Aleurites rockinghamensis

Anybody standing beneath a Rockingham Candlenut Tree (Aleurites rockinghamensis - Family: Euphorbiaceae) during March would have been very lucky not to have been hit by the relatively large falling fruit capsules (ca. 50- 70 mm. diameter 50- 70 mm. Long). The outer skin of these capsules tends to be a fuzzy brownish coat over a pale greenish background. The capsules are usually three lobed but sometimes may be reduced to one lob or have as many as four lobes. The flesh of the capsule is creamish in colour but is not palatable to vertebrate animals. There is usually one seed per lobe and the normal number of seeds per fruit is between 1- 3. Each seed is surrounded by a parchy curved layer and a hard endocarp shell. Overall the size of the nuts are about the size of a Macadamia nut, i.e. about 2 cm. diameter, but the hard shell tends to be more rugose and more brittle than the shell of a Macadamia nut. Kernels tend to be white or creamish in colour.

Edibility and uses of the fruit: The species is related to the Tung-Oil Tree (Aleurites fordii) which has some toxic components in the seed. Similar toxic elements occur in seeds of Rockingham Candlenut but may be less concentrated. The closely related species, Moluccan Candlenut which extends from Daintree River and Windsor tableland through to SE and Pacific Islands appears to be less toxic again. When seeds of Rockingham Candlenut are eaten fresh, they are the quickest thing for sending one to the toilet and may make some people perform at both ends. The toxic principle tends to weaken as seed ages and when seed is cooked but some toxin may still persist. Horses have scoured badly after eating fruit and ground fruits are toxic to poultry. Moluccan Candlenut is often used in Indonesian cooking but the nuts are usually served with ample supplies of other vegetables. Apparently the toxin levels, when combined with cooking and ageing, appear to be diluted. One can commonly buy jars of Moluccan Candlenuts off the shelf in SE Asia.

Oil: Seed of Rockingham Candlenut has a high oil content and fresh seed can be squeezed to produce oil on the surface, which will ignite when lit. Several of these seeds can be packed on a piece of wire, ignited and used like a candle, hence the common name Candlenut.

The Tree: The Rockingham Candlenut is recognised by its light crown and distinctive heart-shaped leaves which may be quite large in the juvenile stages. New leaves are whitish in colour. The leaf stalk has a pale milky sap and the tip of the leaf stalk near the leaf-blade base contains two prominent tick-shaped glands. The tree is a wonderful species for use in revegetation and also for commercial plantation as it is very fast growing and grows in a wide range of forest types throughout the Wet Tropics. It is very prominent in the Mabi Forests (Type 5b) and occurs from sea level to about 1000 m. a.s.l. on the Herberton Range and at the Crater. The main area where it is naturally lacking is in the Type 1b forests of the Boonjie-Topaz area where the rainfall regime is 3000 mm. per annum and the cool south-easterlies stream up the Russell River Valley onto the Tablelands. The soft wood is favoured for use in Show Woodchops and plantation trees can readily reach a suitable size diameter within 7-15 years depending upon site temperatures, fertility and rainfall. Trees usually have a lifespan of around 70-100 years. The large sized juvenile leaves are used by Aboriginals to cover the hot rocks and the wrapped food when cooking in earth ovens. They are used for plates and also to line dilly bags when leaching toxins out of ground or sliced seeds. The trunk of the tree is also a good host for jambun (witchetty grubs).


MASSEY CREEK 1999

By Joan Wright

Misty mountains
With thatch of thick forest,
Dense, complex, life-full.
But a gap,
Grassy gap, barrier for possums.
Planning preparations,
Seed- garnering and growing.
Tree-lets cultivated with care
Now lying ready by muddy holes.
Who comes to plant them?
On such a rainy day.
A veritable army of tree-planters
Breasting the wet wind,
Toiling in rain and mud
To plant 3000 in but 2 hours.
Oh valiant volunteers!
Old, very young, but all keen,
Experienced, well led
From the old world and the new
At last huddling round the barbecue,
Munching welcome burgers and bananas.
A bridge has been thrown across the gap.
Soon little mammals, birds, butterflies
Will wonder whether there ever was a gap.

Approximately 90 people planted 3,000 trees in wet and miserable conditions on 13th March. Many thanks to all who braved the elements!


NURSERY NEWS

Tableland planting's have now been completed despite the atrocious conditions of the past month which have played havoc with our work program. Planting's on the coastal lowlands are now underway, this year concentrating on our Walter Hill Ranges planting's in the Tully/ Mission Beach area. It would be great to see a few tableland members along again this year to assist with our efforts to strengthen the Mission Beach to Ravenshoe Corridor.

Our student from the University of Sao Paolo, Marcelo Moriera, left last week to return home to Brazil. After 5 months intensive training in rain forest restoration, Marcelo says he leaves with a huge store of knowledge and feels he can now look at his country's problems without so much despair. The real challenge for Marcelo will be to adapt our technology and approach to a country where the financial resources and level of awareness is vastly different to Australia. Marcelo though is quite a remarkable student and all of us here at the Nursery (whilst sad to see him leave) know that the future of Brazil's forests is going to depend on people like Marcelo. Many thanks for all your help Marcelo and come back and see us sometime.

SOWING LIST 2nd Quarter 1999

February Aglaia sapindina Daphnandra repandula
Guioa lasioneura Syzygium australe Commersonia bartramia
Flindersia brayleyana Casuarina cunninghamiana Alstonis scholaris
Cryptocarya hypospodia Mischocarpus pyriformis Omalanthus novo-guineensis
Mallotus philippinensisEmmenosperma alphitonioidesGlochidion philippicum
Alstonia scholaris Toona ciliata Mallotus mollissimus
Lomandra longifolia Acmenosperma claviflorum Alpinia caerulea
Euroschinus falcata Argyrodendron peralatum Eroschinus falcata
Syzygium tierneyanum Neolitsea dealbata Guioa acutifolia
Eleaocarpus ruminatus Caldcluvia australiensis Cleistanthus apodus
Evodiella muelleri  Acronychia cassipetala Castanospora alphandii
Euodia xanthoxyloides Dysoxylum arborescens Ficus pleurocarpa
Sarcomelicope simplicifolia Archidendron lucyi Ficus copiosa
Aphananthe philippinensis Beilschmedia bancroftii Ficus wakinsiana
Gmelina fasciculiflora Toechima erythrocarpum Ficus obliqua var. petiolaris
Ficus benjamina Eleocarpus stellaris Ficus leptoclada
Ficus fraseri Castanospermum australe Geissois biagiana
Ficus congesta March Planchonella obovoidea
Ficus superba Casuarina cunninghamiana Canarium vitense
Ficus destruens Gmelina dalrympleana Chionanthus ramiflorus
Ficus microcarpa Zanthoxylum veneficum Planchonella chartacea
Ficus septica Aglaia sapindina Terminalia sericocarpa
Ficus hispida Emmenosperma alphitonioides Castanospermum australe
Ficus copiosa Dysoxylum muelleri Cryptocarya hypospodia
Ficus variegata Terminalia sericocarpa Pittosporum venulousm
Ficus watkinsiana Ficus obliqua var. obliqua Evodiella muelleri
Ficus obliqua var. obliqua Mallotus phillipenensis April
Ficus leptoclada Geissois biagiana Casuarina cunninghamiana
Meterosideros queenslandica Syzygium sayeri Brachychiton acerifolius
Gillbeea adenopetala Ficus fraseri Syzygium australe
Macaranga involucrata var. mallotoides Pullea stutzeri Acacia simsii
Sloanea australis Alphitonia petrei Firmiana papuanum
Syzygium sayeri Torresian pigeon droppings Athertonia diversifolia
Zanthoxylum veneficum Nauclea orientalis Callistemon viminalis
Cleistanthus apodus Ficus septica Tristaniopsis exiliflora
Nauclea orientalis Ficus variegata Ficus superba
Terminalia sericocarpa Melicope elleryana

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COMING EVENTS

8th May (Saturday) - Coastal Tree Planting, El Arish.

19th June (Saturday) - Field Day, 40 Mile Scrub National Park.

Come and investigate the unique Dry Vine Forest approx. 2 hours west of the Tablelands situated in 40 Mile Scrub National Park, where important and innovative revegetation works are being implemented to combat lantana invasion.

Depart Nursery at 8.00 am to meet at 40 Mile Scrub NP picnic and toilet facility (on the highway - look for the signs) at 10.00 am. Participants are urged to car pool to the site. Contact Lake Eacham Nursery on 4095 3406 for more details and to let us know if you require or can provide a lift.

7th August (Saturday) - Field Day, Direct Seeding Trials at Danbulla and Pelican Point

Meet 2pm at Forestry Depot below Pensini's Restaurant at Lake Tinaroo

20th August (Friday) - TREAT AGM. Friday morning at Lake Eacham Nursery

25th September (Saturday) - TREAT and Friends should keep Saturday evening of the 25th free for a social Moonlight Cruise and Dinner at Lake Barrine. Details to be advised.


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