REJUVENATING MABI FOREST 

Overview

Barron Catchment Care recently was successful in obtaining funding through the Community Grants Program for the Wet Tropics to enhance Mabi revegetation sites (2015-2017). This project will value-add to existing work undertaken at 3 sites stretched over 10km of the Mabi landscape along riparian areas of the Barron River and Leslie Creek. All 3 sites have existing Mabi remnant patches which have been linked through restoration actions undertaken by BCC over the last 9 years. The sites are key areas in the planned strategic connectivity Mabi corridors linking Wongabel State Forest, Picnic Crossing Reserve and Curtain Fig NP, identified in the Federal Government's Mabi Recovery Plan. Largely as a result of cyclone damage and the lineal nature of the plantings (edge effect), invasive vines and other weeds are threatening these sites and maintenance is required. Successful restoration of the sites will ensure the longevity of these critically endangered Mabi plantings and build on all past landholder, corporate and government investment.

Detailed summary

This project will value add to previous Mabi restoration activities and provide cost-effective enhancement of critically-endangered Mabi habitat along riparian areas of the Barron River and Leslie Creek. It will build on Barron Catchment Care’s strategic planning and investment over the last 9 years which has resulted in the restoration of 21 hectares of Mabi habitat across 3 riparian sites through the planting of approximately 59,000 Mabi seedlings. The proposed maintenance project will safeguard this initial Mabi corridor investment valued upwards of $600,000 (which includes the battering, drainage, and detention undertaken as part of the Reef Rescue Programme).

The proposed project will include:
1. Four weed control maintenance runs involving the spraying of weeds with a quick-spray unit and backpacks where possible. The first maintenance run will involve a basic condition assessment to identify key priority weed control areas; identify where strategic in-filling should occur; and identify any emerging weed threats. Due to the nature of the landscape and the sites’ proximity to waterways, the majority of work will involve cutting and painting of weeds with herbicide gel. Known weed issues include Glycine vine (internal and edges), Turbina vine (internal and edges), Japanese sunflower (in new planting edges and remnants), Guinea grass (edges), Lantana (in new planting edges and remnants) and Caster Oil plant (in new plantings). Glycine in particular will grow in full sun or full shade and in the red basalt soils of Mabi country this pest, through restriction of stem growth, often causes mortality of smaller Mabi species.

2. Utilisation of the Green Army team to undertake maintenance of the 3 Mabi sites. Barron Catchment Care was recently part of a team of community groups on the Southern Atherton Tablelands successful in winning a bid for an 18-month Green Army team to undertake maintenance of established plantings (with a particular emphasis on Mabi plantings) in the Atherton region. Utilisation of this team as part of the project will provide Green Army participants with the knowledge and skills required in the restoration of critically-endangered Mabi; including planning skills, plant identification skills (Mabi species vs weeds); and appropriate chemical application types and techniques.

3. The project will include a Mabi-themed Tropical Tree Day in partnership with the Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands (TREAT) in January-February 2016. This day will engage volunteers in the in-fill plantings of approximately 300 advanced Mabi seedlings, as well as the sharing of information with participants regarding the fundamental aspects that underpin the success of Mabi plantings. Invitation to the Tropical Tree Day will be extended to decision makers in relevant government departments, NRM groups, local indigenous people, community groups and landholders.

 Project funded by Terrain NRM

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Project objectives

•  Weed control at three strategic riparian Mabi revegetation sites