TREAT Newsletter Storm Season October - December 2012

Workshop - Sat. 17th November

The Tree Identification and Seed Propagation workshop will be held this year on Saturday 17th November, 9am-12.30pm. The workshop is free and is held at the Lake Eacham nursery. It is held in two sessions, separated by a morning tea provided by TREAT. One of the sessions deals with identification of trees by looking at leaf characteristics and is given by TREAT's Alan Gillanders; the other session is about propagating trees from different types of seed and is given by QPWS's Peter Snodgrass.

This is a very popular workshop and places are limited. If you wish to attend, please contact either the nursery staff on 4095 3406 or Barbara Lanskey on 4091 4468.

Tropical Tree Day Planting - Sat. 8th December

Barron River Catchment Care Association are holding another Tropical Tree Day planting on Bonadio's property on Saturday 8th December, starting at 8am. This year the planting will continue work along the bank planted last year, where the Bonadios have again cleared a lot of Yellow Sunflower.

Depending on the weather, 1000-2000 trees will be planted. Parking will be on Bonadio's property on the Gillies Highway near the Barron River crossing. Follow the TREAT signs. A barbecue will be held afterwards. Bring a hat, sunscreen and water, plus gloves and a trowel if you have them.


Inside this issue

What Annie Found Out About Tree-climbers

Rainforest Mammals of Peterson Creek

Trees we Love to Plant

TREAT's 30th Birthday

Millaa Millaa State School Tree Planting 20 July 2012

Field Day at Ogle's and Nye/McGuire's

TREAT AGM 2012

Nursery News

Fruit Collection Diary

This newsletter is kindly sponsored by Biotropica Australia Pty Ltd.

www.biotropica.com.au»


What Annie Found Out About Tree-climbers

Sigrid Heise-Pavlov

Annie came to Australia from America to study for an entire semester in the Wet Tropics. Together with 22 other students, she lived at the Centre for Rainforest Studies at the School for Field Studies in Yungaburra. In the first week of her 3 month stay, she was amazed by the friendliness of the Tablelanders. Studying psychology in America, she loved to be in contact with the community, getting to know their thoughts and interests. She was thrilled by the enthusiasm of the local community for restoration and replanting of formerly cleared areas. Together with other students she participated in TREAT plantings and Friday morning activities. But then she was introduced to the unique wildlife of this part of the Wet Tropics. There were these tree-climbers, also known as tree-kangaroos - strange critters she doubted at first existed.

Annie and Simon

Annie and Simon Photo: Sigrid Heise-Pavlov

Annie had heard some stories from Tablelanders who have seen tree-kangaroos near their properties. She wondered whether these climbers get any benefit from the restoration efforts of the community members. When it came to doing a research project, Annie contacted Siggy, the teacher for Ecology/ Fauna at the school, who did research on these animals. She asked whether she could find out how these beautiful animals react to the corridors community members are establishing along water courses. Once the project had taken shape, Annie was contacting local stakeholders, visiting their properties and searching for signs of tree-kangaroos along corridors.

She interviewed landholders who had either planted areas along their creeks or had some remnant vegetation left there. She wanted to know the age and width of the vegetation next to the water course, the types of trees found there, the type of soil and type of neighbouring habitat. Then she asked whether tree-kangaroos have been seen, how many times they have been seen and whether the animals could be classified as adult, young or mother with young. In many cases, landholders showed her spots where they regularly see tree-kangaroos.

Interviews and site visits were done along the Barron River, North Johnstone River and Peterson Creek. Altogether 13 interviews were conducted. The results revealed an interesting picture. Lumholtz's tree-kangaroos were seen most frequently in riparian zones with a habitat restoration width between 25 - 30 metres and an age between 10 - 21 years. The vegetation often contained Elaeocarpus grandis (Blue Quandongs), Alphitonia petriei (Sarsaparillas) and Alstonia scholaris (Milky Pines). In many cases there were some old remnant trees with many lateral branches on which the tree-kangaroos have been seen sitting. But there was another interesting observation. Many trees of the visited sites were covered by Millaa Millaa Vine (Elaeagnus triflora), and landholders told Annie that tree-kangaroos have been seen using this vine as a perch, food source, and even a canopy bridge. Annie collated all this information in a report with recommendations for restoration efforts. Looking through the eyes of tree-kangaroos, they would like to see vegetated areas with a minimum width of 10 metres on either side of a water course containing some nice old trees with lateral branches. If these areas also contain some Blue Quandongs, Sarsaparillas and Milky Pines that would make them even happier.

So, it appears tree-kangaroos do respond to our restoration efforts. This is great news! In some cases we have to be patient until the planted area is old enough to be accepted by them, but we can design these areas so that we can see these wonderful critters in the future.

Thanks to all who helped Annie and the Centre to better understand these animals.

Annie also developed a passion for Aussie folk music, introduced to her by one of the stakeholders, and modified a familiar song.

Give me a home among the gumtrees
With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair

Words and Music by By B. Brown/W. Johnson © 1975 MUSHROOM MUSIC PTY LTD

Modification by Annie:

Give me a home among the Quandongs
With lots of Millaa Vines
A lateral branch or two, any soil will do
A river out the back
Corridor out the front
And an old remnant tree!

Rainforest Mammals of Peterson Creek - Update

Simon Burchill

This article is an update of my wildlife sightings in the Peterson Creek Wildlife Corridor since my previous article in TREAT News Jan-Mar 2011. This time I have included some observations on Brush Turkeys, White-headed Pigeons and Eastern Whipbirds, of interest for different reasons.

My sightings of Tree-kangaroos (TKs) through most of 2011 were somewhat random, and relatively low compared to 2009, but they have increased in 2012, particularly in the last few months. In contrast, the number of Green Ringtail Possum sightings appear to be significantly higher than in the period covered by my previous article, and some individuals have shown a marked preference for particular trees to which they keep returning. My Platypus sightings are always a little variable as they change the areas they are using from one year to the next. My Coppery Brushtail Possum sightings are under-reported as there is one coppery that sleeps in a hollow in the top of a broken off Casuarina almost every day, and I tend to record this one only when I take a photo. Echidna sightings are always likely to be rare - the data in my previous article shows significant variation from year to year. While I have not kept good records of bandicoots in the plantings, I have disturbed them usually under a clump of grass or other cover. In places the ground is thick with bandicoot holes, which suggests a healthy population.

Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroos

Based on my observations since 2008, I have some theories about the particular TKs that I have seen. I think that an adult female moved onto the property sometime in 2008. For the purpose of this article I will call her Angie ('A' for Alpha female). The precise area of her home range I cannot determine without a GPS collar and relevant permit. However, it is likely that Angie is using some of the habitat downstream on Fred Williams' property, because some days I can't find her anywhere, although she is very good at hiding, behind a leaf if need be.

As my TK sightings through most of 2011 were somewhat scattered and rare, it is very difficult to get an understanding of what I have seen. However, on 15 September, I was walking along the footpath in the afternoon, when I went into the trees to pick up a plastic bag. I heard a TK jump out of a tree and hop away, and although close, I didn't see this TK which was most likely a male. I heard what sounded like another animal climbing a tree close by, and I spotted an adult female (Angie) climbing a very small gum tree (Ironbark), and a smaller TK climbed to the very top of this tree, about 5 metres high. For this article I will call the joey Terri, as my guess is the joey is also female.

On the afternoon of 25 September, I was working on part of the middle channel of Peterson Creek, in an area that has had some problems, from flooding in particular. When it started to get dark I walked downstream a little way and noticed a TK in a fig tree. The next morning I returned to the tree and saw the TK in the same spot. With binoculars it looked as if the tail was somehow caught in the tree. I called Karen Coombes and she came round with Roger Martin. Roger climbed the tree to try to get the TK down and found, after he cut the branch, that the tail was tied in a knot. When we got the TK down it was obvious that the tail had suffered significant damage. It appeared the tail had been run over when the TK tried to cross the road, and this impaired movement of the tail resulted in it getting tied in a knot. The damaged section of tail had to be amputated,which means it will not be possible to release this TK back to the wild. Karen is still caring for the TK whom she named Wally, because he tends to hide from everyone, as in 'Where's Wally?'.

My next clear sighting of Angie was on 7 October 2011, in one of the windbreak gum trees down from the house. This area has a dense rainforest understorey with several TK food plants. In the photo the TK joey is being very cute and playing with Angie. It is my theory that Angie has been successful in raising this joey who is now (August 2012) about the same size as Angie, and likely to be starting to look for its own home range soon. It is impossible to tell if the joey is male or female.

Stop Press

After completing this article in August, I have since seen Angie with another much younger joey, likely to be just out of the pouch, and first seen on 25 September 2012. This joey should be much easier to keep track of as it is a cream colour, apart from the face, paws and tail that are dark as normal. Also, I have not seen Terri for the last week or so, and it would appear she or he has moved away to find its own home range.

Tree Kangaroos - 'Angie and Terri'

Tree Kangaroos - 'Angie and Terri' (photo by Doug Burchill)

Green Ringtail Possums

I have now seen green possums in a number of locations, some of which seem to be preferred locations for particular individuals. During 2011 I saw an adult female with young, and most likely one male on an irregular basis, which contributed to a relatively high number of sightings. However in June 2012 I saw a new high of 5 possums in one day (21 June). The locations were: the Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) close to the house, a Dysoxylum mollissimum subsp. molle on the edge of the windbreak, a Terminalia sericocarpa in the TREAT 1994 planting, and an adult female with young in a Ficus sp. in the TREAT 2004 planting. I continue to see various combinations on an irregular basis, which suggests the possums are resident, with possibly overlapping home ranges.

Birds

While Brush Turkeys have been seasonal visitors for a number of years, summer 2011-12 was the first time we have had males building mounds. Three mounds were built, although the first mound I found was abandoned and the Brush Turkey selected another location.

We also have Eastern Whipbirds for the first time, possibly resident. By the sound of the calls, a young pair are still learning to really crack the whip - they often hang around the house for part of the day.

In his Directed Research, SFS student Adam Miller (2011) looked at published records of monitoring of animals in wildlife corridors and noted a short list of species that could reasonably be expected to be recorded, but had not been. One of those species, the White-headed Pigeon, I noticed shortly afterwards feeding on the fruiting Alphitonia petriei in TREAT's 2004 planting. They do not appear to be resident, which would tend to indicate there is not sufficient food for them at present.

Table 1 lists my wildlife sightings from Jan 2011 - Aug 2012.

A guide to the areas of revegetation in 'Locations' is:

The column labeled 'Other' includes an area of revegetation which started with forestry sourced Eucalyptus species and Pinus caribaea in the early 1980s, and now has a rainforest understorey. Some of the gums and pines were damaged or killed by Cyclone Larry, giving the understorey a chance to develop further. Recruit species that have not been planted include Myristica insipida, Litsea leafeana, Euroschinus falcata and Brachychiton acerifolius. All of these species are on the food plant list for Green Ringtail Possums on the Tree-Kangaroo and Mammal Group's website: (http://www.tree-kangaroo.net/documents/tkinfo/Food%20Plants%20List_10May2010.pdf). Also included under 'Other' are the thin corridors along the middle branch of Peterson Creek that flows through the property, adjoining the Eucalyptus and Pinus windbreak. The total area of revegetation on the Burchill's property is approximately 3.5 ha. It is, however, difficult to determine how the wildlife species vary according to the quality and type of revegetation habitat.

PeriodSpeciesYearofPlanting Total number of sightings
  199419982004Other 
2011 Jan-MarPlatypus1   1
 GR possums5  16
 TK  2 2
Apr-JuneGR possums10  111
 CB possums  2 2
July-Sept Platypus3 2712
 GR possums6  28
 CB possums3 4 7
 TK  156
Oct-Dec Platypus1  23
 Echidna   11
 GR possums53 412
 CB possums21 25
 TK1  67
2012 Jan-MarPlatypus1   1
 GR possums14  418
 CB possums2   2
 TK 1  1
Apr-June Platypus11 13
 GR possums9141428
 CB possums4 3 7
 TK 48416
July-AugPlatypus12 14
 GR possums4 419
 CB possums2   2
 TK4127124

My total sightings for the period January 2011 to end of August 2012 were 24 Platypus, 1 Echidna, 96 Green Ringtail (GR) Possums, 24 Coppery Brushtail (CB) Possums and 71 Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroos.

Conclusion

While the individual species are interesting in some of their behaviour, one of the most interesting things overall is the range of species starting to use the corridor and other forest on the property. The presence of platypus in the creek, echidnas and bandicoots on the ground, the possums in the mid to upper canopy and the Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroos in the canopy, demonstrates that to some extent the wildlife corridor is developing as hoped and providing habitat for the range of species found in nearby intact rainforest. While I have only rarely seen Carpet Pythons in the corridor and I have trouble identifying frogs, particularly to species when they are rapidly hopping away, these sightings tend to indicate that the microhabitats they require are present in places at least.

Reference:

Miller, Adam (2011). Distribution modeling and restoration ecology: bridging the gap to better understand vertebrate assemblages in restoration corridors. School for Field Studies, Directed Research Project. Unpublished.


Trees We Love to Plant (Part 6)

Angela McCaffrey

Rutaceae

Rutaceae is a diverse family. It includes all the rainforest maples, the melicopes and the aspens which , if you look at the fruit, don't look related at all. It's only when you look at the leaves and the growth habit that you see the connection. I have deliberately left this family till last because I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. When one first puts them in the ground they grow strong and fast, almost as quickly as pioneers, putting on two metres of growth in the first year. However, they blow over incredibly easily and may die as a result of this. Even if they don't die straight away, they lie about at awkward angles making spraying weeds difficult. If staked to help lift them back up, many more die and if pruned to take the weight from the top, some still die. This means after a small cyclone like the one on 25/12/2010, plantings can look devastated. Yet still, this is a very important family and contributes a large number of species to most planting lists. Even considering its unfortunate habit of falling over, we still plant many from this family. Here are a few in more detail.

Acronychia acidula - Lemon Aspen

Most of us are already familiar with this beautiful tree which can grow to 27 metres. It has large, glossy, bright green leaves and a large, rounded crown helping to create shade and leaf litter early on in young plantings. The fruit are about the size of a marble, cream coloured and waxy with a strong citrus smell. When extracting the seeds one's hands soon become covered in sticky oil, making it a laborious job to get the few small black seeds to transfer from knife to container. Once sown, they can take a long time and are very erratic to germinate. I suspect the only reason TREAT members put up with this arduous task is because there's virtually nothing else to process in winter. Of course, this very fact means that it is an extremely important food source for many birds and animals during June and July.

Lemon Aspen, cyclone damage

Lemon Aspen, cyclone damage

Flindersia brayleyana - Queensland Maple

A big component of many plantings across the Southern Tablelands, this is an important tree of the area and is a familiar sight in paddocks and on roadsides. It grows to 35 metres and has large compound leaves. The white flowers are very small but are produced in conspicuous masses. The fruit hangs down on the branches, often heavily, for the best part of 12 months, as a green capsule before turning brown and then splitting into five segments which open wide to create a star or flower shape. This releases the papery winged seeds to float away on the breeze. The fact that these seeds are wind dispersed means that seed collectors need to be watching the trees carefully in order to take the closed fruit just as the first few spring open. They germinate readily when neatly sown in rows in a seed tray. Once planted out they grow straight, fast and tall until the first big blow!

Flindersia bourjotiana - Silver Ash

This is a very similar looking tree to the Queensland Maple although not as commonly seen outside rainforest. The main differences are firstly that the compound leaves are furry on the underside making it velvety to touch, secondly that it is much slower to grow, and lastly the fruit are larger and covered in small spikes but these are not prickly to touch. Again the seed germinates easily and consistently.

Flindersia pimenteliana - Maple Silkwood

Another beautiful Flindersia, this tree has very pointed delicate looking leaflets. It too grows relatively quickly but is targeted by pademelons when close to existing forest or regrowth. If left unguarded they soon remove every speck of green, setting it back by months. The flowers of the Maple Silkwood are similar in size and shape to those of the other Flindersias but are deep red making it really stand out. The pendulous green capsules are slightly spiky but otherwise similar to the previous two.

Maple Silkwood

Maple Silkwood

Melicope elleryana - Butterfly Tree or Pink Euodia

This tree is commonly called the Butterfly Tree, not only because many butterflies are attracted to feed on the clusters of pink flowers, but also because it is the host plant of the Ulysses butterfly whose large green caterpillars munch down the leaves. It is another fast growing large tree with a rounded crown, and is commonly used as a pioneer in plantings. It has large trifoliate leaves readily supplying shade and leaf litter. It quickly sheds its lower branches providing much needed woody material at ground level, helping change compacted paddock soils back to rainforest floor. It regularly flowers and fruits after only two years, providing food for honeyeaters and frugivores which in turn bring in seed to enhance the diversity of the planting. It is a tree that just keeps on giving - the only negative is that the shiny black seeds germinate erratically, so you may get many seedlings or none at all.

Melicope broadbentiana - False Euodia

This is more of an understorey tree growing to only 9 metres, but it is still used sometimes in open plantings. It has the familiar trifoliate leaf of the Melicopes but is less significant in most other aspects than the previous species. Its main claim to fame is its fruit which have black shiny seeds in clusters similar to the previous species, but the capsule enclosing the seed opens with a cream papery cover which is irresistible to Golden Bowerbirds. The males collect the fruit to decorate their bowers, which I think is reason enough to include it in higher altitude revegetation.

Zanthoxylum venificum - Thorny Yellowwood

In Latin 'xantho' means yellow and 'xylon' means wood, which describes the timber of these trees. So, given that the bark is thorny, especially when young, Thorny Yellowwood is a very apt common name. It grows to 25 metres with a dense crown of shiny, dark green compound leaves often toothed when the tree is young. It grows fast in plantings but has the tendency to fall over in strong winds, similar to many of the Flindersias. The sharp thorns on the young trees make it an awkward inclusion in revegetation plantings but its red fruit with black shiny seeds popping out make it very attractive to birds, so it is worthy of inclusion.

This is the last of the series 'Trees We Love to Plant' and I hope you will use them to become familiar with the trees put out on planting days in the future. Of course there are many more species used from many other families but the six families covered make up the majority of trees used in revegetation work. If you have land or even a large back yard you could contribute to the wider landscape, providing stepping-stones for birds and animals, by planting the right trees for your area.

Information for this article was sourced from Fruits of the Australian Tropical Rainforest by Wendy and William Cooper and Australian Rainforest Plants vols I-VI by Nan and Hugh Nicholson.


TREAT's 30th Birthday

Angela McCaffrey

On a beautiful winter's day, TREAT celebrated its 30th anniversary with an open day at the QPWS nursery where much of our regular volunteer work is done. Whilst the 30th of June was not the exact day, or even month of TREAT's actual birthday, it was chosen as the best time of year for such a celebration with the expectation of cool and dry conditions.

Several local conservation groups had been invited to set up displays and we had representatives from Tablelands National Parks Volunteers, Birdlife Australia, Tree-Kangaroo and Mammal Group, Conservation Volunteers Australia and the Wet Tropics Management Authority, all with colourful display boards or a table full of brochures, posters and merchandise telling the stories of all the amazing work being done locally to protect and restore our natural environment. TREAT also put up a number of display boards showcasing our own work and encouraging new members to join. The wonderful DVD produced by Sarah Scragg was running in the display centre and the nursery had been given a thorough scrub up to look its best for the occasion thanks to the QPWS staff.

The morning began with plenty of enthusiastic volunteers making sandwiches, slicing and plating up cakes and fruit to be offered for donations throughout the day along with hot and cold drinks. The cakes, all baked by TREAT members, amounted to a stunning array of delicious goodies. These same volunteers kept the food table replenished throughout the day and consequently raised $153 from food alone.

Visitors started arriving around 10am and soon the place was buzzing with conversations. It was great for people involved in all kinds of conservation work to get a sense of where they fitted into the bigger picture and talk to people working in different fields such as education, scientific research and practical on ground work, spreading the message that the people of the Atherton Tablelands really care about their natural environment and its wildlife. The opportunity to share this message with our politicians came as the state member for Dalrymple, Shane Knuth, Tablelands Regional Council Mayor, Rosa Lee Long, and TRC Councillor Geoff Stocker all came to help celebrate and listen to local concerns about environmental issues.

At about 1.30pm Syb Bresolin welcomed everyone to Country with a truly heart warming story of how in the early 1980s the local indigenous people were feeling concerned about the fragmentation of forests and the health of the wildlife, and how this coincided with Joan Wright's and the other founding members of TREAT's concerns. They wanted to grow local rainforest trees to hand out to the community to begin redressing the balance.

After Syb's welcome, Mark Lawson on behalf of Andrew Millerd, gave a speech about the unique, strong and important relationship between the Queensland Government's department QPWS and TREAT, culminating in the MOUs signed in 2005 and 2008. Both partners have enormous respect for each other and gain much from the relationship for which both sides are equally grateful.

Shane Knuth and Rosa Lee Long spoke to congratulate TREAT and QPWS on their continuing success and the benefits to the local community of such an organisation as ours, not only for the environmental outcomes achieved but also for the social well-being of the people involved.

After the speeches people drifted back to chatting, eating and enjoying the displays. Several new members joined and after all the packing away had been done I was left with a sense of belonging to something really strong and worthwhile. The founding members could only have dreamed that from such humble beginnings, such a well supported, well organised, non-political tree planting organisation would evolve.


Millaa Millaa State School Tree Planting 20 July 2012

Beth Smyth

This school had a program for planting trees back in 1939 when students belonged to a school Forestry Club. They planted four defined areas with Kauri, Hoop pines and mixed species and although some damage has been caused by cyclones and fungus, the remaining trees look magnificent.

Recently, with the support of TREAT through its Tree Awareness Program, and with the enthusiasm of the Principal, Mr Stephen Fresta, and Angela McCaffrey and Catriona Arnold-Knott, they have again begun to plant rainforest trees around the school oval, beginning from the original pine plots. When the oval bank planting is complete, it will connect with the TREAT planting done in 1987 outside the grounds next to the road - a few years away yet.

Millaa State School

The Millaa Millaa school has been registered as a Planet Ark School, so plantings are done each July on Planet Ark's tree planting day for schools.

The Principal prepared the area to be planted by killing the grass on the site and creating a grid with string so that the students could have a record of exactly where their chosen tree was planted, and be able to follow its progress in their log books while studying at the school. They also learn the scientific names for their trees.

TREAT members Ken Schaffer, Ian Freeman, Beth Smyth and Mark McCaffrey arrived after lunch with 70 trees and the auger to dig the holes. The trees were from the nursery at Lake Eacham. When the holes were all dug, they had an hour before the students (all 57 of them) were due to come and plant their trees, so went to the Fire Station to inspect the engine which is a complex and impressive machine.

You may wonder what this engine has to do with planting the trees. Mark and Captain Desley are fire fighters and they brought the fire truck to the school and, using its big hose and the 2000 litres of water on board, the planters could water their trees very thoroughly once they were in the ground (with a little help from Mark and Desley).

Millaa State School planting

When the students were assembled, Ken Schaffer gave them a talk and demonstration about the way to plant a tree, how to get them out of the tubes, and how to use the fertilizer and mulch. Then it was their turn. It was wonderful to see the students planting their trees with parents and teachers helping. It can be difficult sometimes to get the seedlings out of the tubes so the trowels and adult hands were sometimes essential. The fertilizer and mulch to surround the trees was provided by the school.

At the planting was Mr Henry Tranter, who is a regular attendee and has been planting trees for over 80 years. He is an inspiration!

Of course, once the trees are in the ground they still need to be looked after so maintenance is essential. Grass and weeds need to be kept away from the little trees and, if no rain falls during the dry season, some watering is necessary particularly in the first month. These students understand this responsibility too and will record this process in their logs.

After the trees had been watered, the children could go home feeling very proud of themselves - and we could go to the tuckshop for a delicious afternoon tea and to see an example of the book that is prepared for each planting. This contains the grid drawings with the list of trees planted and by whom. Various project sheets contain information the students record about their tree, including age, height, number of branches and leaves and the scientific name. They also include comments about their tree and its progress.

Stephen's organisation is impressive and he has integrated tree planting into the school's program. This is a wonderful legacy to leave for future generations of students and should give current students an appreciation of the natural environment with its plants and animals and their place in it.

Editor's note: Last year, Millaa Millaa State School won the Wet Tropics Management Authority's Young Cassowary Award for its Earth Smart Science Program and for its planting of the rainforest corridor.


Field Day at Ogle's and Nye/ McGuire's

Doug Burchill

The field day started on a clear but rather cool windy afternoon on 28 July, at Ogle's property on Glen Allyn Road. Last year a community planting had put in 3000 trees along both sides of a creek running through the property. This planting built on some revegetation work Chris and Claire had done in previous years.

When we breasted the hill leading down to the plantings an ominously disturbed area was immediately noticeable on the far side of the stream. It was explained that while the Ogles were away for a few days, some 70 of the neighbour's cattle had found their way into the fenced off area of trees. As the stream provided a convenient water source, the cattle felt no need to go back to the grassland. Apparently another neighbour noticed the cattle and the damage they had done, and came and chased them out of the trees.

On closer examination of the damaged area, it was quite obvious that the cattle had trampled the area until there was not a single green shoot left. The soil, being soft and moist, was trampled into a mess of extremely uneven soil surface. Chris and Claire have taken the time to carefully examine all the chewed and trampled young trees and have noticed that there appear to be quite a few buds forming on the stems, so that with any luck most of the trees will recover from their traumatic experience.

The rest of the time spent at the property was to look at the remaining planted area which had not been targeted by the cattle, and some older, smaller plantings. These are certainly thriving and are a highly encouraging sight.

We then headed to the Nye/McGuire property. Geraldine and Athy explained that when the property was acquired it was the standard clear rubbish grassland that this area of the Tablelands became, with the required rainforest clearing and the raising of livestock on the property for the family livelihood. The property is on a ridge sloping off the road toward the east flowing streams facing the Bellenden Ker range. In the area between the road and their house, they have over the years planted a large number of rainforest trees. In some of the areas closer to the house they have established orchards with a range of native fruit trees such as Davidson's Plum. The fruit from these and other sources around the Tablelands are processed by Geraldine into a range of highly desirable jams etc. which are sold commercially in food stores around the area. The property boasts free range ducks and hens, which are all penned overnight in secure shelters.

Once the tree planting had gained canopy closure the whole of the rather swampy land between the road and the house started to change massively. The swampy area disappeared. The water cut down into the now shaded landscape and well defined streams resulted. These have clear water flowing through them, all year round. There is a resident cassowary who is sighted quite frequently by workers on the property.

The field day visitors split into 2 groups to do the walk to the house. Athy took one group via the access road with a few side diversions to point out some of the significant features along this track. Geraldine took the other group via the tracks through the trees, along the creeks, and eventually to the orchard areas and house. There we feasted on home made cake, slice and cookies plus Geraldine's scones with Davidson's Plum and other fruit jam and cream, with our tea or coffee.


TREAT AGM 2012

Ken Schaffer

TREAT's Annual General Meeting was held at the Yungaburra Community Hall on Friday 14 September starting at 7.30pm with 40 members in attendance.

After declaring the meeting open president Angela McCaffrey called upon the secretary Doug Burchill, QPWS Ranger in Charge Nick Stevens, and the treasurer Carmel Panther to present the minutes of the 2011/12 AGM and respective reports.

Angela then presented her report of TREAT's 2011/12 many revegetation activities working in cooperation with QPWS, landowners and other like organisations. She acknowledged the Friday morning nursery regulars, the Saturday morning planters, the retiring committee members and the wonderful support given by Jim Panther who died unexpectedly a few weeks earlier. Colin Hunt expressed heartiest thanks to the retiring committee for their dedication to the organisation.

PresidentAngela McCaffrey
Vice President & EBFKen Schaffer
SecretaryDoug Burchill
Treasurer & EBF Carmel Panther
Membership & EBFNoel Grundon
Grants SecretaryDebbie Dixon-Child
Data Bases Dave Skelton
Newsletter & SATRABarbara Lanskey
Weeds & Website Simon Burchill
Com. 1 & TAPBeth Smyth
Com. 2 & NurseryIan Freeman
Com. 3Vacant

The chair was then handed to Alan Gillanders who declared all positions vacant. The following Management Committee for 2012/13 was duly elected.

Angela then introduced the guest speakers Stan and Kaisa Breeden, renowned photographic artists. Stan and Kaisa released their book 'Rainforest Country' with stunning photography earlier this year. Their experiences, knowledge and photographic techniques used in the production of this book was exceptional.

The meeting concluded with the customary tea and cake supper. Many thanks to all contributors.


Nursery News

Nick Stevens

Two to three mornings of late season frosts in mid-August caused extensive damage to this year's plantings with no recent planting remaining unaffected. The most severely affected sites at this stage appear to be this year's plantings at Massey Creek, the Curtain Fig National Park and Peterson Creek at Ian Freeman's property. Plantings from February and October 2011 on Fred Williams' property on Peterson Creek were also affected as were some larger trees in the 2010 section on Fred's property.

Nursery Production Comparison Table

Production 2009-20102010-20112011-2012
Volunteer hours at nursery4,5504,7225,010
Total potting58,00062,80066,000
Total write-outs21,00028,20032,000
Stock held at annual August stocktake72,00062,500 64,000

Newly planted areas on Ian's sites adjacent to the forest edge along Cutler Road were afforded some protection and were largely undamaged. Irrigation on the creek bank sections following the frost has helped speed up the recovery of trees that weren't killed outright and we intend to commence infill planting these sections in October.

Tree Distribution Comparison Table

Distribution2010-20112011-2012
TREAT members9,5947,500
TREAT projects5,3347,000
QPWS 8,8949,500
BRCCA/ Terrain NRM2,6334,500
TKMG 1,5003,100
Schools250400
Total28,20532,000

The tables summarise the nursery annual production/distribution as presented to TREAT at their AGM held 14 September in Yungaburra, and include 2 and 3 year comparison figures.


Fruit Collection Diary July- Sept 2012

SpeciesCommon NameCollection Location/
Regional Ecosystem
Alloxylum flammeum Pink Silky Oak7.8.3
Antidesma bunius Herbert River Cherry7.8.3
Castanospermum australe Black Bean7.8.3
Chionanthus ramiflora Native Olive7.8.1, 7.3.10
Dysoxylum rufum Rusty Mahogany7.8.4
Ficus obliqua Small Leaved Fig7.8.2
Ficus watkinsiana Watkins Fig7.8.3, 7.8.4
Helicia lamingtoniana Lamington's Silky Oak7.8.4
Melicope bonwickii Yellow Evodia7.8.2, 7.8.3
Mischocarpus stipitatus Purple Aril Mischocarp7.8.2
Stockwellia quadrifida Stockwellia7.8.2

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