Survey of Daintree’s Lot 505 identifies important habitat for the Cassowary

A vegetation survey of Lot 505 Cedar Road has identified 117 species of native plants. The 12 species of native Laurel found on Lot 505 provide an important source of fruits for the Endangered Southern Cassowary and many other bird species. 

Surveying the vegetation on Lot 505 Cedar Road

A vegetation survey was undertaken of Lot 505 Cedar Road, Cow Bay on the 18th June 2021 by ecologist Kristopher Kupsch.

The botanical survey identified 117 native species. The vegetation on Lot 505 Cedar Road is remnant and all sections of Lot 505 have vegetation that has never experienced clear felling since European colonisation.

Lot 505 has dominant Sclerophyll elements within the canopy and a significantly denser, diverse rainforest understorey. The northern parts of the lot has drainage impeded soils comprising Grey Teak (Gmelina dalrympleana), Red Beech (Dillenia alata), Porcelain Fruit (Fagraea cambagei), Native Gardenia’s (Atractocarpus fitzalanii and A.sessilis) with Alligatorbark (Calophyllum sil) whilst the southern portions accessible from Cedar Road has better drainage and is more akin to rainforest.

Please, make a donation to purchase and protect Lot 505 Cedar Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Porcelain Fruit (Fagraea cambagei)

A feature of the property is the local endemic Daintree Foambark tree (Jagera madida) which is prevalent throughout Lot 505. It is noticeable by the pinkish ferny new growth and often single straight stem seldom branching. Its trunk is often completely covered in lichen of various shades of grey.

The vegetation on Lot 505 is experiencing a change in the absence of fire. The vegetation over the 1-hectare lot is dominated by a canopy of Corymbia, Eucalyptus, Lophostemon and Melaleuca with occasional tropical rainforest trees emerging between. Since fire is now seldom experienced in the Daintree lowlands it is assumed that this forest habitat will omit Sclerophyll species as time lengthens. During survey a large decayed Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) was observed senescent within the dense growth of rainforest vines. No juvenile individuals of those Sclerophyll species in the canopy were observed.

The vegetation Regional Ecosystem (RE) mapping by The Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Herbarium is generally consistent with the site appraisal. Changes in vegetation occur over Lot 505 where the soil is saturated during the wet season.

Please, make a donation to purchase and protect Lot 505 Cedar Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Large Fruited Red Mahogany (Eucalyptus pellita)

Lot 505 has Regional Ecosystem 7.3.20e: “Corymbia intermedia, Eucalyptus pellita, E.tereticornis, C.tessellaris, C.torelliana, open forest, often with Acacia celsa, A.mangium, Lophostemon suaveolens, and Syncarpia glomulifera. Alluvial fans of the wet and moist rainfall zones, of the lowlands and foothills”.

RE 7.3.20e is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

The Queensland government indicates a pre-clearing amount of 11,000 ha existed with 6,000 ha hectares remaining in 2019.

The Queensland government specifically states that this vegetation type has “Special Values” being:

“Potential habitat for NCA listed species: Calochilus psednus, Drosera adelae, Scleromitrion polycladum”.

Sections of Lot 505 appear similar to Regional Ecosystem 7.3.20b which differs in having a well-developed vine forest understorey. This condition is likely caused by infrequent burning.

The local endemic Daintree Tuckeroo (Jagera madida) is common with various aged cohorts identified from seedlings to old trees. This again identifies the site as one which seldom experiences fires.

The vegetation on Lot 505 provides habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary. 12 species of native Laurel are found on Lot 505. These trees produce fleshy fruits favoured by Cassowaries and other bird species. 

Please, make a donation to purchase and protect Lot 505 Cedar Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Native Gardenia (Atractocarpus fitzalanii)

Significant species found during survey: 

  1. Jagera madida

A good number of specimens of Daintree Foambark are present on Lot 505.

This species only occurs in the lowland rainforests between Julatten – Bloomfield and has its closest relatives in SE Asia being quite distinct to that of the other Australian Foambark species in being slender, often a single trunk with a handful of branches. Until recently this tree was considered to be a species that also occurs in Java however closer analysis of its flowers, fruits and leaf characteristics has shown it is an Australian endemic.

Daintree Foambark (Jagera madida)

Other values of Lot 505:

Lot 505 is integral in maintaining green avenues for wildlife across the landscape. Increased urbanisation of the Cow Bay region will only further disrupt natural processes in the region by fragmenting habitat and creating edge effect. The core to edge ratio of the rainforest patches is integral in maintaining sound functioning forests.

Further urbanisation will only increase the risk of exotic animal and plant species from colonising Lot 505.

Weeds:

Lot 505 has minimal exotic weeds with 2 woody species noted.

Pond Apple (Annona glabra) was identified by a handful of 10cm tall seedlings, likely all originating from a single Cassowary or Pig scat.

A Mango (Mangifera indica) sapling was identified in the more illuminated central-eastern portion of the Lot.

Monitor for possible future Pond apple (Annona glabra) recruitment aided by Cassowaries and Pig movement across Lot 505.

Property owners to the east have exotic plants which could invade the edges.

Recommendations:

     1,    Hand removal of Pond Apple (Annona glabra). It potentially could colonise the wetter northern end of Lot 505. Stem injection of feral Mango (Mangifera indica).

     2,     Engage with adjacent property owners to identify common goals and strategies to minimise foreign influences occurring on Lot 505, be they stray pets, stray plants, stray people, excessive noise, disturbance to bordering vegetation, especially managing fire.

     3,     Establish feral Pig management strategies on Lot 505

 

Alligatorbark (Calophyllum sil)

 

Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe vitellina)

Brown Pine (Podocarpus grayae)

Please, make a donation to purchase and protect Lot 505 Cedar Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

 

 

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  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in Latest News 2021-06-27 11:16:45 +1000