Survey of Lot 8 finds Macleay's Fig-parrot and the Southern Cassowary

During our survey of Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road at Cow Bay we found two Threatened species of birds, the Macleay's Fig-parrot and the Southern Cassowary. A total of 176 species of native plants were found on the property including three Threatened species, the Noah's Walnut, China Camp Laurel, and Grey's Walnut. 

Macleay's Fig-parrot - photo by David White

Our vegetation survey of Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road at Cow Bay was conducted on the 17th November 2021 by ecologist Kristopher Kupsch. His report is summarised below. 

Lot 8 has dense lowland rainforest over most of the property, the exception being a clearing for a keyhole loop road and associated house pad where natural regeneration of the rainforest is occurring and can be enhanced.  

The vegetation on Lot 8 is remnant with many trees of notable age and size. Lot 8 has a high diversity of species in the Lauraceae, Meliaceae and Rubiaceae plant families. All these species are bird-dispersed plants. The property has notable specimens of Cassowary Satinash (Syzygium graveolens), very large Noah’s Walnuts (Endiandra microneura), large Briar Silky Oak (Musgravea heterophylla), Red Bean (Dysoxylum mollissimum) and several other notable large species. The ancient Hopes Cycad (Lepidozamia hopei) is represented by just 1 specimen.

The vegetation Regional Ecosystem (RE)is 7.3.10a: Mesophyll vine forest on moderately to poorly-drained alluvial plains, of moderate fertility. Lowlands of the very wet and wet zone. RE 7.3.10a is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

The Queensland government indicates a pre-clearing amount of 60,000 ha existed with 14,000 ha hectares remaining in 2019. The Queensland government specifically states that this vegetation type has “Special
Values” being:

“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 8 Buchanan Creek Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest

Significant species were found during survey

One (1) species found on Lot 8 is listed on the Queensland Nature Conservation Act
1992 as “Vulnerable”.

1. Grays Walnut (Endiandra grayi)

Two species found on Lot 8 are listed on the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 as “Near Threatened”.

1. China Camp Laurel (Beilschmiedia castrisinensis)

China Camp Laurel (Beilschmiedia castrisinensis)

2. Noahs Walnut (Endiandra microneura)

Noahs Walnut (Endiandra microneura)

Four species identified as local endemics are found on Lot 8. These species have restricted natural distributions, can be locally abundant and
mostly confined to the Daintree rainforests.

1. Yellow Bean (Archidendropsis xanthoxylon)

2. Daintree Cleistanthus (Cleistanthus myrianthus)

3. Daintree Satinash (Syzygium monospermum)

4. Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa)

The Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa) grows as an understorey shrub to 3m in height. It is endemic to the rainforests of the Daintree lowlands and the large majority of records come from the vicinity of the Cow Bay - Cape Tribulation area. It is a recently described species formally recognised in 2007 as Haplostichanthus ramiflorus and then redescribed as Polyalthia xanthocarpa in 2012.

Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus

Other values of Lot 8

Lot 8 is integral in maintaining natural 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. Lot 8 has a narrow road access to a house site clearing. This relatively small foot aids in the ability to regenerate this site. The largest impediment would be the compacted subsoil of the house pad in growing trees.

Lot 8 is known habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary (Casuarius johnsonii- southern population) and the Vulnerable Macleay's fig-parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana) with both these species being observed at the time of survey. The Near Threatened Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus) is likely to visit Lot 8 on occasions.

We found many specimens of the Black Plam (Normanbya normanbyi) on Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road. This single-stemmed palm grows up to 30 m tall and the fruits are eaten by the endangered Southern Cassowary.

Fruit of the Black Palm 


Lot 8 has few exotic plants species, all associated with disturbance due to the construction of a road network and house pad.

The botanical survey identified 12 exotic plant species.


1. Monitor for exotic plant species which may colonise from surrounding properties.

2. One specimen of the Northern Territory native Palm, the Carpentaria Palm (Carpentaria acuminata) was identified on the forest edge.

3. The Melastomataceae weed from Africa and Madagascar Tristemma (Tristemma mauritianum) was identified in forest gaps.

3. Engage with adjacent property owners to identify common goals and strategies to minimise foreign influences occurring on Lot 8, be they stray pets,
stray plants, stray people, excessive noise, disturbance to bordering vegetation etc.

4, Install camera traps to assess animal diversity across the site.

5. Remove all built items and revegetate cleared spaces utilising suitable local framework species with an expectation that site capture will occur within 12 months of planting with no need for laborious maintenance following such time.

Tropical Rainforest on Lot 8 Buchannan Creek Road

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  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in Latest News 2021-11-25 15:10:30 +1100