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6 November, 2020

Working together to get Mabi Forest off the endangered list

A dream of getting Mabi rainforest off the ‘endangered’ list is a step closer for Tablelands residents. Barron Catchment Care volunteers are planting more rainforest trees – this time 2000 of them in state forest previously used for pine plantations.

The group’s acting coordinator Sheryl Fitch said it was exciting to see the trees growing so strongly.“They were planted in April and some are already waist-height,’’ she said.

“Months ago, there was head-height guinea grass, lantana and tobacco bush there.

This started out as a pretty daunting project with the land the way it was and with coronavirus, but somehow we’ve managed to beat the odds.”

When a community tree planting was cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions, the group dug into project funding to engage NQ Land Management Services for the spraying and planting work. 

The project is part of a larger ‘Rebuilding Rainforest Resilience’ program supported by Terrain NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Terrain’s Tony O’Malley said only four per cent of original Mabi forest remained.

“It’s a critically endangered rainforest ecological community that’s only found on the Tablelands in North Queensland, mainly in Curtain Figtree National Park and Wongabel State Forest.

What is left is highly fragmented and just under half of it is on freehold land.”

Ms Fitch said 63 different species of rainforest trees had been planted.

“We’ll be working with Terrain NRM to monitor the site’s recovery each year now,’’ she said. 

“There are more sections to plant out. We are always looking for new sites. Any little bit of Mabi forest we can revegetate to make a link with other sections of forest – it makes a big difference to the state of the forest as a whole and to the native fauna that live in and rely on it.”

Tableland Yidinji Chair Daryl Joseph said the project was an important one for his people.

“The clan groups up here have a special connection with the forest and projects like this help to restore the environment and sustain the forest,’’ he said. 

“This is not just about now but about future growth and it’s for the whole community.”

For more information about the project, and the next round of Building Rainforest Resilience grants and landholder incentives, call Tony O’Malley on 0437 728 190.


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