Survey confirms Lot 11 as essential Cassowary habitat

Our survey of Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road identified 185 species of native plants and confirmed this property as a stomping ground of the endangered Southern Cassowary.­ 

Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road at Cow Bay

To confirm just how much diversity was to be found on this particular patch of the Daintree Rainforest, a vegetation survey was undertaken on the 9th of March 2021 by ecologist and botanist Kristopher Kupsch. Here’s what Kristopher found.

The vegetation community on Lot 11 is Regional Ecosystem 3.3.10a. This forest type is listed as ‘Of Concern’ under the Vegetation Management Act 1999, which makes it extremely precious in our conservation mission.

The Queensland Government specifically states that this vegetation type has “Special values”, citing:

“Small areas on the very wet lowlands, especially between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation, harbour plant species which are extremely restricted and uncommon. Many areas of this ecosystem are considered refugial in nature and are local centres of endemism. Many representatives of primitive families of flowering plants are present, including the monotypic family Idiospermaceae. The ecosystem is the habitat for many threatened plant species.”

Lot 11 has also been mapped as essential Cassowary habitat by the Queensland Government. There are many species of native Laurels which provide fruits for Cassowaries and evidence of them using the property was confirmed by footprints and dung. 

Please, make your tax-deductible donation now to help purchase and protect Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

The endangered Southern Cassowary can be found on Lot 11

Three Threatened plants species

Three plant species found on Lot 11 are listed on the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992. They are:

     1.     China Camp Laurel (Beilschmiedia castrisinensis) - NCA 1992: Near threatened

The China Camp Laurel only grows in the Daintree Rainforest between the Daintree River and the Bloomfield River, where it is locally common. 

The species was found on Lot 11 as a single seedling within Cassowary droppings. It is common within the surrounding forests of Cow Bay. The seeds are the largest of all native Laurels and rely on dispersal by Cassowaries and potentially very localised dispersal by Musky Rat-kangaroos. 

     2.     Gray’s Walnut (Endiandra grayi) - NCA 1992: Vulnerable

Gray’s Walnut was found on Lot 11 as a single seedling. This is a large tree only found between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation in lowland rainforest below 40m above sea level (asl). Its large seeds are dispersed solely by the Southern Cassowary. 

As with all large fruiting Walnut (Endiandra) species, Gray’s Walnut is food for the Southern Cassowary. We must therefore preserve the habitat for both the tree and the bird.

Gray’s Walnut

     3.     Noah’s Walnut (Endiandra microneura) - NCA 1992: Near threatened

Noah's Walnut was found on Lot 11 as young seedlings germinating within Cassowary dung. 

This species is only found naturally within the Daintree Rainforest predominantly north of the Daintree River and south of Cape Tribulation.

This tree is noticeable in the forest as it produces a vibrant display of limp, new, red leaves. The large oblong yellow fruits often litter the ground beneath parent trees. Cassowaries, fruit bats and ground dwelling mammals such as Musky Rat-kangaroos (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus) disperse the fruits.

Noah's Walnut

Please, make your tax-deductible donation now to help purchase and protect Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Other significant plants on Lot 11

     1.     Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa)

The Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus is common in the understorey on Lot 11. This species colonises regenerating forests following the establishment of a suitable shady humid understorey. Its occurrence on Lot 11 indicates good levels of natural regeneration. 

This is an understorey shrub of up to 3m in height. It is restricted to the rainforests of the Daintree lowlands, but is found as far south as the Daintree village. It is a recently described species formally recognised in 2007 as Haplostichanthus ramiflorus and then redescribed as Polyalthia xanthocarpa in 2012.

Kelvin Davies with Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus

     2.     Daintree Satinash (Syzygium monospermum)

The locally common Daintree Satinash was identified as seedlings on Lot 11, brought to the site by Cassowaries. The tree is ‘myrmecophilus’ in that the interior of its trunk is much like an ant plant with myriads of chambers that ants inhabit. 

This species is only found in lowland rainforests between Cape Tribulation and Julatten. The tree provides food for the endangered Southern Cassowary. Owing to the size of its large white fruit that it produces straight from the trunk, few other animals other than possibly fruit bats would disperse its seeds.

The cauliflorous showy flowers are produced immediately from the often-single trunk of the parent tree. As with most Australian flowering trees, nectar is produced from a stamen dense flower.

This type of flower is favoured by honeyeaters, marsupials and insects. 

Daintree Satinash

Please, make your tax-deductible donation now to help purchase and protect Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Vulnerable frogs found near Lot 11

The vulnerable Tapping Grey-eyed Frog (Litoria serrata) and the endangered Common Mist Frog (Litoria rheocola) have both been previously identified within 50 metres of Lot 11. These two threatened frogs favour fast-flowing streams and also spend a portion of their lives in trees. 

We identified 185 native plant species on Lot 11

There’s a bit of a tangle of Giant Bramble

Lot 11 will need some revegetation and weed removal. A past owner cleared part of the property in an attempted development. Fortunately for us and for the wildlife, that dream failed. Gaps in the canopy and roadside verges are dominated by Giant Bramble and Guinea Grass, which will be eradicated once the property is purchased and managed for conservation. 

Where the rainforest is regenerating the canopy is made up of a number of species such as Sumac (Rhus taitensis), Sarsaparilla (Alphitonia), Euodia (Melicope), and Bleeding Heart (Homalanthus novo-guineensis). The understory is extremely diverse and shows forest succession as new vegetation is being rapidly added as the vegetation ages. This is great for the natural diversity of the site to progress.

Please, donate online now and help purchase and protect Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Removing Giant Bramble (Rubus alceifolius)

What to do about the weeds?

Part of Lot 11 is covered by the Giant Bramble (Rubus alceifolius), an environmental weed that has become naturalised in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

A total of 14 exotic plant species was identified on the property. We will remove these weeds in the coming months. 

The presence of exotic palms and fruit trees from neighbouring properties is a concern, as is the presence of Shoe-button Ardisia (Ardisia elliptica) as it grows well in shady sites. 

We will:

  1. Restore forest cover over Lot 11 using site-specific indigenous plants. 
  2. Control and eradicate shade-tolerant weeds such as Ardisia elliptica, exotic fruit trees and non-native palm seedlings.

 make a donation now and help purchase and protect Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

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  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in Latest News 2021-11-11 15:45:59 +1100