Survey of Daintree's Lot 197 finds habitat for Striped Possums.

The most important habitat feature on lot 197 is the presence of very tall (35m high) Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) as they possess large hollow-bearing limbs which are important habitat for Gliders, Possums, Snakes, Birds, and other tree dwelling animals.

One likely inhabitant of these hollows is the Striped Possum (Dactylopsila trivirgata). This shy, solitary animal, ventures out at night to munch on flowers, fruits, beetle larvae, and pollen. During the day, it rests on a bed of leaves inside a tree hollow or sometimes in a clump of ferns. 

Striped Possum in the Daintree Rainforest - Photo by David White

The Striped Possum lives only in the lowland and upland forests of the Wet Tropics region of north Queensland. The striped possum is hard to mistake, with its bold, skunk-like appearance of striking black and white stripes along its body and a white tip to its tail. They have elongated slightly furred toes.

The vegetation survey of Lot 197 Quandong Road, Cow Bay was undertaken on the 27th of July 2019 by ecologist Kristopher Kupsch. We were not able to purchase the property at that time however it came back on the market and we now have the property under contract. This guarantees we can purchase the property as long as we can raise the funds.  

Please, make your tax-deductible donation now to help purchase and protect Lot 197 Quandong Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

The vegetation and the regional ecosystem mapping are consistent with Regional Ecosystem 7.11.44 “Eucalyptus tereticornis open forest to woodland on coastal metamorphic foothills”. 

The vegetation on Lot 197 is in a transitional stage due to the absence of fire. It consists of a dominant Sclerophyll emergent & canopy layer with Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), Corymbia intermedia and Acacia celsa however a dense, diverse, and well-established understorey of rainforest species. It is highly probable that the ecosystem was once considerably sparser and fire was an occurrence.

There are no young representatives of Eucalypts and there is meagre recruitment of Acacia celsa presumably initiated following cyclone disturbance. The understorey layer is dominated by four species of Wait-a-while (Calamus) and makes traversing extremely difficult to impossible in places. Due to difficulties in accessing, the plant species survey list could potentially yield further diversity. There is evidence of severe disturbance in the way of storm damage with tree fall gaps and masses of debris on the forest floor.

Lot 197 Quandong road is entirely vegetated with minimal exotic plants identified. Those exotic species were restricted to individual specimens of the tropical fruit trees Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) and Rollinia (Rollinia mucosa).

170 plant species of native plants were identified during the survey of the 1-hectare property. Three are listed on the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Lot 197 has a high diversity of native Laurel species (Lauraceae) with 13 species identified, also the Mahogany family (Meliaceae) is well represented with 7 species of Dysoxylum, plus 8 species of Palms (Arecaceae) and 11 species of Myrtles (Myrtaceae).

Please, make your tax-deductible donation now to help purchase and protect Lot 197 Quandong Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

Fan Palms (Licuala ramsayi) on Lot 197 Quandong Road

The most significant plant species identified on Lot 197 was Gray’s Walnut (Endiandra grayi). It is a large growing Laurel tree and is listed as a “Vulnerable” species and only found between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation in lowland rainforest. Its large seeds are solely dispersed by the Southern Cassowary. There was one young individual identified on lot 197 and a subsequent second nearby at the end of Quandong road, suggesting a parent tree occurs in the vicinity. Owing to the presence of many food species, the occurrence of the Southern Cassowary utilising Lot 197 is almost a certainty.

However relatively common in the region, Noahs Walnut (Endiandra microneura) is found on lot 197 and is listed as “Near Threatened”. There is an abundance of seedlings, presumably from dispersal by the Southern Cassowary as mature specimens are absent from the site. This species is only found naturally within the Daintree rainforests predominately north of the Daintree River and south of Cape Tribulation. 

Another unique species identified by one sole specimen on lot 197 is the Daintree Gardenia (Randia audasii) and is listed as “Near Threatened”. This small understorey tree species produces white tubular flowers which are very fragrant. It is only found north from Cairns and south from Cooktown often in transitional forests.

Please, make your tax-deductible donation now to help purchase and protect Lot 197 Quandong Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

Daintree Gardenia was found on Lot 197 Quandong Road

The future management of lot 197 should consider the transitionary nature this forest is experiencing. The absence of seasonal forest fires within the district due to European colonisation and general property safeguarding has begun to alter natural systems in the Cow Bay district. The rampant nature of the tropical rainforest in absence of fire has driven a succession towards closed canopy forests to the detriment of open woodland habitats. This is becoming common and unfortunately following decades of unabated natural succession there is potentially no returning to the previous forest type of lot 197 and it should therefore be managed so as to maintain diversity and connectivity within the larger landscape context.

Please, make your tax-deductible donation now to help purchase and protect Lot 197 Quandong Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

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  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in Latest News 2022-05-26 14:53:08 +1000