LAND PURCHASE ON THE ATHERTON TABLELANDS
Action: Purchase and protection of Maalan Cloud Forest
Area: 83 hectares (approximately 45 hectares of remnant rainforest)
Additional actions: Revegetation of 35 hectares to complete the wildlife corridor and connect two isolated national parks within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Location: Number 252 (Lot 535) Maalan Road, Maalan, Far North Queensland (Lot 535 NR2668)
Vegetation type: Regional Ecosystem 7.8.4 high-altitude cloud forest on basalt
Biodiversity status: Endangered
Threatened Species: Spectacled Flying Fox, Spotted-tail Quoll, Southern Cassowary, Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo, Lemuroid Ringtail Possum, Green Ringtail Possum, Herbert River Ringtail Possum, Golden Bowerbird
UPDATE: Thanks to our generous donors, the settlement of the Maalan Cloud Forest property took place on Friday January 12, 2024.
The Spectacled Flying Fox, Spotted-tail Quoll, Southern Cassowary, Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo, Lemuroid Ringtail Possum, Green Ringtail Possum, Herbert River Ringtail Possum, and Golden Bowerbird need our help if they are to survive climate change.
These threatened species are restricted to the cooler parts of the Atherton Tablelands and other higher parts of the Wet Tropics in Far North Queensland, which means they can all be found either on this 83-hectare Maalan Cloud Forest property or at nearby locations of similar altitude (above 800 metres). Securing this important habitat is essential to support their long-term survival.
That’s why we have bought this 83-hectare block - its conservation value as a critical wildlife corridor and refuge is priceless.
Lemuroid Ringtail Possum
The Spectacled Flying Fox needs urgent assistance
Climate change is increasing the number of days with high temperatures. On January 15, 2019, a record-breaking heatwave in Far North Queensland pushed temperatures to 42 degrees Celsius. This one event is estimated to have killed more than 23,000 Spectacled Flying Foxes, or almost one-third of the species in Australia.
As the impact of climate change increases, the remaining population of Spectacled Flying Foxes in FNQ will require a refuge to which they can retreat in extreme heat conditions. Through the purchase and restoration of high-altitude cloud forest on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland, we are achieving this outcome.
A very significant population of the Spectacled Flying Fox uses a camp in the rainforest adjoining the Maalan Cloud Forest property. The size of the population changes through the year, with reports of over 20,000 bats in the camp over the summer months. This represents one-third of the remaining Spectacled Flying Fox population.
Climate change impacts mammals adapted to live in the normally stable environment of the cloud forests. As temperatures rise, habitat at higher altitudes becomes an essential refuge.
Spectacled Flying Fox. Pic by David White.
Without functional connections within fragmented habitat areas, it is feared that the long-term survival of a range of species will be at substantial risk.
The purchase of Maalan Cloud Forest will enable 83 hectares to be managed as an essential refuge for endemic mammals that have nowhere else to go.
Green Ringtail Possum
A site of immense potential for biodiversity and connectivity
This Maalan Cloud Forest property is key to rainforest connectivity, and will create a vital wildlife corridor.
Strategically located between Wooroonooran National Park and Maalan National Park, the Maalan Cloud Forest property's value as a corridor for wildlife is immense.
On the property, there are currently 45 hectares of endangered rainforest and 35 hectares of land that were cleared many decades ago. By revegetating this land we will complete a high-priority corridor between Maalan and Wooroonooran national parks. Its protection and restoration will also help buffer the World Heritage Area.
To restore the cleared land, we will plant 125,000 trees. This expansion of habitat will complete the wildlife corridor and expand the habitat for the existing Spectacled Flying Fox camp.
Nature refuge planned for protection of Maalan Cloud Forest
Our plan is to protect the Maalan Cloud Forest property through its gazettal as a Nature Refuge. The Queensland Government’s Nature Refuge program works with landholders who have an interest in protecting and managing the significant conservation values of their land in perpetuity. A nature refuge is established through a voluntary, binding conservation agreement between the landholder and the Department of Environment and Science on behalf of the Queensland Government. Nature Refuges provide the highest level of protection for land outside of a national park.
Our project partners are South Endeavour Trust, a successful registered non-profit organisation that acquires and manages land for conservation. We successfully partnered with them in 2021 for the acquisition of Oakey Scrub near Cooktown and the Cheelonga Cloud Forest in 2022.
The Maalan River flows through the property.
Please help to secure these 83 hectares of important habitat on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland for the Spectacled Flying Fox, Spotted-tail Quoll, Southern Cassowary, Lumhotz’s Tree-kangaroo, Lemuroid Ringtail Possum, Green Ringtail Possum, Herbert River Ringtail Possum, Northern Pygmy Possum, Golden Bowerbird.
Maalan Cloud Forest.
If you have any questions about the purchase and protection of the Maalan Cloud Forest property, contact Kelvin Davies at [email protected] or call during business hours at 0437 423 119.
Thank you for your support of our critically-important rainforest ecosystems.