WWF Magazine

Mountain Rainforest Remnant Protected

WWF Australia's Rainforest Recovery program is working with a private landholder and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to help conserve an important rainforest remnant on a scenic mountain top property, in south east Queensland.

Ben Barton, an information technology professional, recently purchased the beautiful 120ha property (which he's named 'Bartopia') in the picturesque rim of south east Queensland.

Keryn Hyslop, WWF Australia's Rainforest Recovery Officer says 'Bartopia' provides a wide rainforest corridor between two national parks and is prime habitat for many rare and threatened species that live in the neighboring parks. These include several threatened frogs, the black-breasted button-quail, powerful and sooty owls (requiring 1000ha and 200-800ha of habitat respectively), Albert's lyre bird, the rufous scrub bird and a variety of threatened bats and rare reptiles.

"These threatened species and the many other species that share their habitats are at risk from weeds, fire and habitat disturbance. Whilst the neighboring parks are managed by the State, Ben is doing his bit as a private landholder to conserve habitat for rare and threatened species on his property" says Keryn.

Cattle previously had free access to the rainforest and waterways on Ben's property and signs of soil compaction, trampling and erosion are evident. Lantana is also present in disturbed rainforest areas and poses a fire risk to the property and the neighboring parks. WWF's Rainforest Recovery program, through Natural Heritage Trust 'Bushcare' funding has assisted with lantana control to reduce the fire risk, as well as fencing to exclude cattle from the rainforest.

Ben has joined forces with Vern Charlesworth, a skilled botanist who is steadily building up information on plant and animal species found on the property.

"So far they have made some pretty special findings – the deep bellowing calls of the koala have been heard, and one evening they enjoyed the thrill of three glossy black cockatoos flying low overhead" says Keryn.

"Vern has also seen the red goshawk, which needs about around 10,000ha of habitat. Ben's property, along with the surrounding national parks, is one of the few places to offer a big enough area to support this magnificent bird. Much of the red goshawk's habitat has been lost through land clearing"

Signs of other important wildlife on the property includes the scats (droppings) of what is likely to be the spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculatus), and the curious feeding platelets (ground markings) of the black-breasted button-quail (Turnix melanogaster). Vern is continuing his search for other threatened species including the eastern bristle bird (Dasyornis brachypterus).

"As the property contains vine forest surrounded by sclerophyll forest with plenty of native raspberry, grasses and thicket-forming weeds like lantana, it has the potential to be prime bristle bird country," says Keryn.

"This project, with Ben's commitment and enthusiasm for conserving the natural assets of his property, has allowed WWF to work with him to achieve value added conservation in this astoundingly beautiful part of the world. Ben has joined with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to place a long term covenant on his property to protect its natural assets in perpetuity"

WWF Australia Rainforest Recovery

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