KURABY ECOLOGICAL PROTECTION REPORT

(Prepared for the Karawatha Forest Protection Society Inc.;

written by David Gasteen, Field Officer, Brisbane Region Environment Council.

 

Submission and Ecological Assessment of Remnant Forest in Kuraby,

North of Compton Road, Opposite Karawatha Forest Reserve.



NEW VERSION WITH COLOUR MAPS AND PICTURES
-CLICK HERE


 

SUMMARY

 Regional Significance of Kuraby Forest Complex.

+ The Kuraby bushland is very valuable for its healthy and extensive forests which are an essential core area which is an important wildlife refuge and corridor function using creeks and forest linkages to Karawatha Forest and urban matrix to Bulimba Creek and associated bushland.

 + Dr Carla Catterall has clearly highlighted the need to retain large core forest because they are fast diminishing and accompanied by a lack of ecological planning that fails to incorporate linkages of bushland remnants. After all, these forests are the essential lungs of Brisbane City.

 + This ridgeline also forms the important catchment boundary between north-flowing tributaries of the Bulimba Creek system, and eastern catchment has east-flowing tributaries of the Spring Creek/Slacks Creek/Logan River system.

 + a permanent spring which feeds the Spring Creek/Slacks Creek system with numerous permanent ponds, and wet swampy areas which provide excellent aquatic fauna habitats for fish, frogs, crustaceans, reptiles and insects.

 + Many old growth trees, including Eucalyptus microcorys, E. racemosa and E. baileyana as well as standing dead trees with numerous hollows that provide vital fauna habitat such as refuge, roosting and breeding sites for bats, gliders, brusssh-ttailed possum, owl, parrot family, kookaburra, and dollar bird.

+ areas of spectacular sandstone outcrops overlooking Spring Creek and rocky screed surface, and steep drainage lines and gullies with sandstone and gravelly surface which are highly prone to erosion when disturbed by trail bikes and four wheel drive vehicles.

 Conclusions

 + there has been limitted commitment by BCC to protect the Kuraby forest by acquisition of environmentally significant portion of Timbertop Estate, north-east of spring and Spring Creek; but not enough to protect the catchment.

 + Both Kuraby forest and Spring Creek are listed in the Karawatha Management Plan as a wildlife limkage and refugia to Bulimba Creek and remnant forests in Wally Tate Park. The significance of Kuraby forest for south-east Queensland was further highlighted by Kordas and Catterall, and also Dr David Stewarts fauna report on Karawatha.

 + Dr Catterall has also highlighted the loss of forest habitat to continued clearing for development which represents a significant loss of flora and fauna diversity. This is in spite of the recognition that these core forests represent the lungs of the city of Brisbane and need to be preserved.

 + Similarly, the IGAE: Inter-Governmental Agreement on the Environment, with the major focus upon the maintenance of ecological processes, needs to be implemented; including the protection of creek catchments and forests from changes in zoning and wholesale clearing for development.

+ The National Strategy for Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity was agreed upon and ratified by all the State Premiers on 18-6-1993 Conservation of Biological Diversity. It is essential that the current State Government also supports this National Agreement.

 + Currently, there is no guarantee that State Government owned land will not be subject to future development and land clearing, because it is not subject to BCC recommendation for inclusion of Kuraby forest in an Urban Nature Park.

 + Any further development of the remaining catchment of Spring Creek (ridgeline and adjoining gully networks), will have a detrimental impact upon significant flora and fauna, especially reducing the quality of available habitat (refugia, breeding and foraging). Ultimately, this will limit the potential for dispersal to Karawatha Forest Reserve and remnant forests in the Bulimba Creek catchment.

Significant Flora

The species listed by Department of Environment in `Native plants subject to the Nature Conservation legislation' only refers to the floristry trade, and not to species that are poorly conserved and under threat from development.

RE (Restricted plants), RE,F (restricted plants, flowers)), where control is for harvesting and trade in cut flowers and foliage only. Whole plants and propagating material such as seeds are not intended to be covered.

 RE plants include Gleichenia dicarpa (coral fern), Sticherus flabellatus (shiny umbrella fern), Exocarpos cupressiformis (native cherry), Xanthorrhoea macronema (bottlebrush grass tree), and Xanthorrhoea latifolia (flat-leaved grass tree).

 E,F (restricted plants) are Banksia integrifolia (coastal banksia), Pultenaea villosa (kerosene bush), Lepironia articulata (grey reed), and Leptospermum polygalifolium (wild may).

 + Reports by Thompson and Kordas on Karawatha Reserve have identified several plant alliances and plant species as having regional significance, because of their restricted distribution - Melaleuca wetlands, Eucalyptus carnea community and E. planchoniana/E. baileyana community

 + Rare with restricted distribution: Daviesia wyattiana (long-leaved bitter-pea), Acacia juncifolia (rush-like wattle), and Acacia quadrilateralis (four-stemmed wattle)

 + very restricted and patchy distribution: E. baileyana (Bailey's stringybark) and E. planchoniana (Planchon's stringybark)

 + restricted distribution: Eucalyptus tindaliae (Queensland white mahogany), E. carnea (broad-leaved white mahogany), E. seeana (narrow-leaved red gum), E. henryi (large-leaved spotted gum), and E. siderophloia (grey ironbark)

 + locally uncommon with a restricted distribution: Glochidion sumatranum (umbrella cheese tree)

 + locally common, with a restricted distribution: Angophora woodsiana (smudgee)

+Other species with restricted distribution and significance are: E. racemosa (scribbly gum), Gompholobium latifolium (glory bush-pea), Daviesia umbellulata, Persoonia cornifolia (broad-leaf geebung), Lycopodium cernuum (club moss), Gahnia clarkei (tall saw-sedge), Hakea florulenta (three-veined hakea), Echinostephia aculeata (prickly tape vine), Trachymene incisa (native parsnip).

 + a permanent spring comprised of spongy-peat layers with a dense shrub layer of Leptospermum polygalifolium, and Restricted ferns: Sticherus flabellatus (shiny umbrella fern), Gleichenia dicarpa (pouched coral fern); and uncommon ferns Lindsaea microphylla (lacy wedge fern) and Lygodium microphyllum (climbing maidenhair fern). Unusual club moss (Lycopodium cernuum), Gahnia clarkei (tall saw-sedge), andd diverse reeds and rushes present.

 + Melaleuca quinquenervia dominant forest on swampy section of Spring Creek, locally common, with a restricted distribution: Glochidion sumatranum, Melaleuca linariifolia and Lophostemon suaveolens; with Gahnia clarkei, and ferns: Calochlaena dubia (false bracken), Christella dentata (binung), Blechnum indicum (water fern). Wetland alliances like these are poorly preserved in the Brisbane region.

 Significant Fauna

 + Other species of regional significance are likely to occur (pers comm DOE) because of similar habitats to Karawatha, and due to the large numbers of tree and branch hollows, including dead trees providing nesting sites and core forest habitat providing adequate food resources.

 + Species may include Vulnerable Calyptorhynchus lathami (glossy black cockatoo) and Ninox strenua (powerful owl), Species of Special Interest Tachyglossus aculeatus (Short-beaked echidna) and Phascolarctos cinereus (koala), Petaurus breviceps (sugar glider): likely due to the large numbers of preferred food trees (bloodwoods and banksia), and Litoria brevipalmata (green-thighed frog); because of shelter in sandstone outcrops adjoining drainage lines and swamps.

 


Submission and Ecological Assessment of Remnant Forest

North of Compton Road, Opposite Karawatha Forest Reserve

Introduction

Kuraby bushland has many outstanding qualities, and the early origins of the name Kuraby are explained in the following passage from Beryl Roberts `Stories of the Southside' (Volume 1).

The western saddle provides the source of a spring-fed marsh which seasonally flows into the Spring Creek/Slacks Creek system featuring permanent ponds and Melaleuca wetlands, with a wide diversity of flora and aquatic/terrestrial fauna habitats.

 Unfortunately, the spring is vulnerable because of its location between QEC powerline and newly cleared area for a water main, resulting in numerous tracks and erosion severing the creekline.

 This large core remnant forest is bounded by private property to the north east to Allbutt Street, Compton Road to the south, and southern Brisbane bypass to the west. This area has regionally significant conservation values worthy of incorporation into the Karawatha Forest Reserve (National Estate status); and thereby providing longterm viability for flora and fauna species.

 A major portion of Kuraby core forest is under the ownership of Local Government and Housing, private property and a small portion by BCC; and therefore has limited security of tenure which will ultimately threaten the survival of regionally significant flora and fauna species. Kuraby forest is well represented by regionally significant flora and fauna, especially the plant community of Eucalyptus baileyana and E. planchoniana, (including old growth trees, pictured right) and heath understorey.

 An integral component of the Kuraby bushland is the valuable catchment protection and opportunity for linkage of remnant urban bushland matrix from State Archives land along tributatries of Bulimba Creek, through marsh and melaleuca wetlands intooo the Wally Tate Reserve.

 Physical Characteristics, Soils and Geology

 This area has high visual qualities of forest and mountain views along sandstone ridgelines with areas of spectacular sandstone outcrops overlooking Spring Creek, which has several sharply dissected drainage lines and gullies with steep gravelly surfaces protected by a shrub, grass and herbaceous layer.

 The dominant high ridgeline extends from Compton Road around to Allbutt Street, and forms the important catchment boundary between Bulimba Creek and tributaries of the Spring Creek/Slack's Creek to the south and south east.

 Kuraby bushland has the spring-fed Spring Creek system with several permanent ponds and steep drainage lines and gullies with sandy and gravelly surface which are highly prone to erosion from disturbance caused by trail bikes and four wheel drive vehicles.

 The dominant geology and rock types in Kuraby are described by Beckmann, Hubble and Thompson in `The Soil Landscapes of Brisbane and South-eastern Environs' as: Woodridge (Red-yellow podzolic soils, with gleyed podzolic soils and lateritic podzolic soils, low hills of sandstones and shales), Sunnybank (lateritic red earths with some lateritic podzolic soils on undulating plateau and slopes on tertiary sediments).

 There are also overlapping soils of Park Ridge (lateritic podzolic soils and sandy red-yellow podzolic soils, of low hills and undulating surface on sandstone with shale and conglomerate).

 


Description of Kuraby Forest

 These areas are broadly based on discreet areas within the different catchment boundaries, with many distinctive vegetation types directly influenced by the dominant soil types.

 

Area 1 Western Ridgeline adjoining QEC Power Easement

Private Property

Physical features:

High visual qualities of mountain and forest views along sandstone ridgeline which includes large sandstone boulder outcrops and forms the important catchment boundary of north flowing tributaries of the Bulimba Creek system, and eastern flowing Spring Creek into the Slacks Creek/Logan River system.

 The sandstone derived top-soils and lateritic red earths are dominant along the western ridgeline and plateau towards the saddle between western and eastern ridgelines; which is the source of Spring Creek.

 Floristic Characteristics and Structure:

This area features many interesting and unique species, including the very restricted and patchy distribution of E. baileyana (Bailey's stringybark) and E. planchoniana (Planchon's stringybark), including several large old growth trees.

 There is a well developed low tree and shrub layer including Xylomelum salicinum (coastal woody pear, see photo), which is extremely rare in the Brisbane region. This species was last collected from the Sunnybank, Eight Mile Plains area in 1918, now gone the way of urban development, and only occurs on Moreton Island, Russell Island, Port Curtis and Wide Bay/Burnett districts. These are widely separated geographical areas and should be seen as being very distinctive from Kuraby; furtther highlighting its ecological and regional significance.

 Other species of regional significance of restricted distribution Eucalyptus tindaliae (Queensland white mahogany), E. carnea (broad-leaved white mahogany), E. seeana (narrow-leaved red gum), E. henryi (large-leaved spotted gum), and E. siderophloia (grey ironbark), shrubs Acacia hispidula, A. ulicifolia (prickly moses), and Rare with restricted distribution: Daviesia wyattiana (long-leaved bitter-pea) and Acacia juncifolia (rush-like wattle).

 Other shrubs worthy of mention are Pultenaea euchila (orange pultenaea), Persoonia cornifolia (broad-leaf geebung), and Xanthorrhoea macronema (bottlebrush grass tree).

Other canopy trees include Eucalyptus microcorys (tallowwood), E. trachyphloia (brown bloodwood), Angophora woodsiana (smudgee): locally common, with a restricted distribution, and several large Lophostemon confertus (brush box) that are subjected to a high fire regime with obvious fire scars; including many regrowth and small trees.

 Further diversity of heath species are Boronia rosmarinifolia (forest boronia), Leptospermum trinervium (paperbark wallum tea-tree), Haemodorum austroqueenslandicum (blood lily), Trachymene incisa (native parsnip), Lomatia silaifolia (crinkle bush), Patersonia sericea (purple flag iris), Hakea florulenta (three-veined hakea), Schizaea bifida (forked comb fern), Gompholobium latifolium (glory bush-pea), and Xanthorrhoea latifolia (flat-leaved grass tree).

 Habitat Values:

The ridgeline with rock outcrops and shelter, and dense areas of understorey and diverse grass species offers excellent habitat opportunities for a range of ground dwelling fauna including wallabies, melomys, antechinus, bandicoot, echidna and reptiles. Standing dead trees, branch and tree hollows provide nesting sites for gliders, possums, owls, parrot family, kookaburra and kingfisher.

 Both koala and greater glider feed on the leaves of tallowwood, narrow-leaved red gum, grey gum, ironbark and several stringybarks; while squirrel gliders have been observed feeding on flowering banksias on the ridgeline and nesting nearby (Queensland University study).

 Threats:

Any clearing for development will destroy a healthy population of rare Xylomelum salicinum (coastal woody pear), a plant of such significance, should provide the trigger to prevent development and ensure it is protected.

 The western boundary has suffered major disturbance from clearing of vegetation during power line easement construction and access road, followed by uncontrolled access by trail bike and four wheel drives, and recently from water main installation. Any future management of this area must consider fencing of the power easement to prevent further degradation of spring-fed tributary.

BCC Portion and Private Property

Physical features:

There is a unique permanent spring which commences to the east of power easement in a saddle at the northern edge of the western ridgeline as a damp, peaty spring constantly flowing downstream, and featuring several plant species of significance.

 The Spring Creek tributary has a narrow riparian plant community confined by the steep slopes, gullies and drainage lines, with a sandy stream-bed from the deposition of sandstone derived soils; and several permanent ponds. Downstream has a melaleuca wetland and swamp as a result of accumulated downstream flow and the low relief contours adjoining the area.

 On private property downstream from the wetland, there has been largescale clearing of vegetation, leaving only a narrow riparian linkage of vegetation between Spring Creek before entering Slacks Creek; and minor regrowth of native species, with some weeds.

 Floristic Characteristics and Structure:

The spring has an interesting and closed low shrub layer of Leptospermum polygalifolium (wild may), with occasional Melaleuca quinquenervia, Lophostemon suaveolens, Melastoma affine (blue tongue), and dense ground layer of tall Juncus spp. (rushes), tall saw-sedge Gahnia clarkei and Drosera sp (sundew) on margins.

 A prominent feature of both the spring and discreet areas on the creekline were the presence of uncommon ferns Gleichenia dicarpa (pouched coral fern), Sticherus flabellatus (shiny umbrella fern), Lindsaea microphylla (lacy wedge fern) and Lygodium microphyllum (climbing maidenhair fern); with uncommon Lycopodium cernuum (creeping club moss): see photograph right).

There were some outstanding features downstream from spring of Hovea acutifolia (pointed leaf hovea) and tall saw-sedge Gahnia clarkei bordered by dense understorey shrub Pultenaea villosa.

 Paperbark forest on swampy sections of Spring Creek is dominated by Melaleuca quinquenervia (paper-barked tea-tree), with tall Melaleuca linariifolia (flax-leaved paperbark), Lophostemon suaveolens (swamp box), and lower canopy of locally uncommon with a restricted distribution: Glochidion sumatranum (umbrella cheese tree or buttonwood).

 Some large areas were dominated by dense masses of ferns Christella dentata (binung), Cyclosorus interruptus, Calochlaena dubia (false bracken), Blechnum indicum (water fern), Smilax australis (barbed-wire vine), Cayratia clematioides (slender grape), and Lygodium microphyllum (climbing maidenhair).

 Freshwater wetland alliances with the diversity of the Spring Creek catchment due to the sandstone derived soils, are not well represented in the Brisbane region.

 The narrow riparian vegetation has eucalypts from adjoining plant alliances of Eucalyptus resinifera (red mahogany); and eucalypts with a restricted distribution: Eucalyptus tindaliae (Queensland white mahogany), E. carnea (broad-leaved white mahogany), E. seeana (narrow-leaved red gum), E. siderophloia (grey ironbark).

E. tereticornis (Queensland blue gum/forest red gum) occurs on the lower creekline. Many of these species are an important food resource for koala and greater glider to a lesser extent.

 An array of diverse shrubs were present on the steep sloping banks adjoining the creek line including Gompholobium latifolium (glory wedge pea), Boronia rosmarinifolia (forest boronia), Rare with restricted distribution: Daviesia wyattiana (long-leaved bitter-pea), Hovea acutifolia (pointed leaf hovea), Hakea florulenta (three-veined hakea), Pultenaea villosa (kerosene bush) and Xanthorrhoea latifolia (flat-leaved grass tree).

 Habitat Values:

This area has a very unique and constantly flowing spring, which is sheltered by dense vegetation and provides an excellent habitat for small ground mammals, frogs, numerous flocks of mixed birds (wrens, fantails, white-eyes, honeyeaters and warblers), water goannas and skinks.

 The more fertile soils along lower western drainage line to Spring Creek enables eucalypt species to flourish including grey gum, tallowwood, ironbark, bloodwood and stringybarks. Many of these are preferred food trees of koala and greater glider (both sited during spotlighting), as well as nectar feeders: possums, fruit bats, gliders, birds and insects.

 Recent bird surveys during several brief field reconnaissance in areas adjoining the riparian area revealed 33 species, including personal observations of roosting wood ducks, rainbow bee-eater, scarlet honeyeater feeding on flowering banksias, dollar bird, rainbow lorikeets, channel-billed cuckoo, spangled drongo, white-browed tree creeper, rufous whistler, red-backed and blue wrens.

 The dense areas of understorey of sedges, reeds, bracken and other ferns and grass species provide forage, habitat and shelter for wallabies, bandicoots, reptiles, melomys, rats and frogs. Standing dead trees, branch and tree hollows provide nesting sites for gliders, possums, bats, owls, parrot family, kookaburra and kingfisher.

 Threats:

This area has suffered major disturbance during power line easement construction, uncontrolled access by trail bike and four wheel drives; and more recently from water main installation. Any future management of this area must consider fencing of easement to prevent further degradation of spring-fed tributary.

 Probably due to increased sediment and higher nutrient levels from stormwater runoff, there was increased weed proliferation from blue billygoat weed, paspalum, water pepper, groundsel bush, thickhead, morning glory, cobbler's pegs and siratro.

 

Area 3 Eastern ridgeline (spring to Allbutt/Allingham Street)

BCC Conservation Zone/mostly private property

Physical features:

High sandstone ridgeline with large sandstone boulder outcrops and areas of exposed rock and gravelly surface, with western and south-western facing slopes and drainage lines to Spring Creek.

There are changes in soil type in the middle and southern portion of this area which corresponds to the boundaries of different eucalypt alliances and of the changes in understorey stratum.

 Floristic Characteristics and Structure:

 Tall open forest with dominant ridgeline featuring the unique plant community of very restricted and patchy distribution: E. baileyana (Bailey's stringybark) and E. planchoniana (Planchon's stringybark); including several large old growth trees. Both of these species occurred on lower slopes between drainage lines in the middle of forest.

 Other common trees along the ridgeline are E. trachyphloia (brown bloodwood), E. umbra (broad-leaved white mahogany), Angophora woodsiana (smudgee): locally common, with a restricted distribution, with occasional Lophostemon confertus (brush box) and Allocasuarina torulosa (corky-barked forest oak).

 The understorey was dominated by wallum-heath understorey and sparse grass cover with Leptospermum trinervium (paperbark wallum tea-tree), Leucopogon juniperinus (prickly beard-heath), Boronia rosmarinifolia (forest boronia), Patersonia sericea (purple flag-iris), Acrotriche aggregata (ground berry), and Notelaea ovata (netted mock-olive); as well as occasional grass trees.

 Some of the lower slopes have a dense understorey of Pultenaea villosa (kerosene bush) and drainage lines are characterised by Leptospermum polygalifolium (wild may), with occasional Melaleuca quinquenervia, Lophostemon suaveolens, Melastoma affine (blue tongue), and ferns in deeper gullies and moist sheltered areas.

 The middle to lower slopes have a eucalypt forest mosaic with restricted distribution: Eucalyptus tindaliae (Queensland white mahogany), E. siderophloia (grey ironbark), E. carnea (broad-leaved white mahogany), and E. seeana (narrow-leaved red gum); with E. umbra, E. microcorys (tallowwood), E. propinqua (grey gum) and E. resinifera (red mahogany). Some extend into the narrow riparian system in association with diverse ecotones.

 Ecological Values for Fauna Species:

The ridgeline offers excellent opportunities for fauna from rock outcrops and shelter, and standing dead trees with branch and tree hollows provide nesting sites for gliders, possums, bats, and several birds. The diverse range of tree species has high forage value for herbivores: koala and greater glider, in particular tallow-wood, white stringybark, grey gum, and red mahogany. Nectar feeders such as birds, bats, possums, sugar, feathertail and squirrel gliders would utilise these forests.

 Areas with an open understorey have several grass species that are favoured by red-necked and swamp wallabies, with the latter also favouring a range of herbs, barb-wire vine and bracken fern. There were several flattened grass areas on the lower slopes adjoining drainage lines that were temporarily utilised for rest, shelter and protection especially areas among low shrubs.

 Threats:

Some of this ridgeline was purchased by BCC to prevent further encroachement from Timbertop Estate, however, it will do little to protect the ridgeline and upper catchment from any further development; or protect the sensitive habitats around the spring from uncontrolled access by trail bike and four wheel drives.

 In particular, there are several tracks accessing the ridgelines and also down slope to the creekline and power easement; which is causing rill and gully erosion, and reducing the potential for native plants to regenerate.

 

Area 4 Western lower catchment of Spring Creek

Private property

Physical features: This area has a distinctive vegetation alliance from several factiors including characteristic duplex soils of sandy top soil and medium clay sub-soil, low relief and minimal undulations, high water table adjoining Spring Creek, and probable reaction to logging and tree clearing in the past.

 Floristic Characteristics and Structure:

this area comprises a low open forest to layered woodland to 16m, dominated by low tree with restricted distribution: E. seeana (narrow-leaved red gum), with occasional upper stratum trees of E. resinifera (red mahogany), E. intermedia (pink bloodwood).

 The middle stratum included Lophostemon suaveolens (swamp box), Callistemon salignus (white-flowering paperbark-bottlebrush), Allocasuarina littoralis (black she-oak), some forming dense regrowth stands following removal of mature trees, and some remnant Melaleuca quinquenervia (paper-barked tea tree).

The lower stratum reflected previous clearing with regrowth species including Leptospermum polygalifolium (wild may), Acacia fimbriata (fringed wattle), Acacia leiocalyx (red-stemmed black wattle), Pultenaea retusa (blunt-leaved bush pea), with common herbs and ground cover of wiry panic, wire grass, graceful grass, twining glycine, erect guinea flower and purple iris.

 E. racemosa (Scribbly gum) dominants

This vegetation type occurs in a restricted section of Area 4, and comprises an open eucalypt woodland due to past clearing, with upper stratum dominated by E. racemosa (scribbly gum), E. umbra, E. resinifera (red mahogany), E. seeana (narrow-leaved red gum), E. intermedia (pink bloodwood), and occasional very restricted and patchy distribution of E. planchoniana (Planchon's stringybark).

 These plant alliances are characterised by a sparse understorey of low trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs including Alphitonia excelsa, Persoonia cornifolia, Banksia integrifolia (coast banksia), Acacia falcata, Acacia concurrens, Xanthorrhoea macronema, Pultenaea villosa, Themeda triandra, Entolasia stricta, Hibbertia stricta, Glycine tabacina and Pimelia linifolia (slender rice flower).

 Adjoining this area was a tall forest of Eucalyptus tindaliae syn. nigra (Queensland white stringybark), E. baileyana (Bailey's stringybark), with some E. planchoniana (Planchon's stringybark), E. microcorys (tallowwood), E. propinqua (grey gum), E. umbra (broad-leaved white mahogany), E. resinifera (red mahogany), and E. trachyphloia (brown bloodwood).

 Habitat Values:

This area provides for a diverse range of fauna because of the numbers of preferred food trees for herbivores (tallowwood, grey gum and stringybarks), flowering eucalypts and banksias, dense understorey areas providing shade, shelter and protection, and hollow branches provide nesting sites for gliders, possums, owls, parrot family, kookaburra and kingfisher.

 There have been spotlighting and radio-tracking surveys which have identified sugar and squirrel gliders feeding on flowering banksias between Area 4 and the ridgeline (Qld Uni. study).

 Most of these species are preferred and well utilised koala food trees, and are also important for a range of avifauna. This area of remaining bushland provides valuable habitat for wallaby, possum, glider, goanna, skinks and small mammals, as well as a diverse range of bird species.

 Threats:

Major threats is from the uncontrolled access off Compton Road which is well abused by trail bike and vehicles, including the illegal dumping of rubbish and deliberate fires; which has a negative impact on the integrity of the area and shows a total disregard for the protection of these unique forest ecosystems.

 The uncontrolled access has caused severe erosion from steep hill climbing onto the western ridgeline, completely stripping vegetation and topsoil and preventing natural regeneration.

 

Area 5 Tall Open Forest southern catchment Slacks Creek

Private property

Physical features:

This area features an intact section of tall forest within a more sheltered southern basin below western ridgeline that has a more fertile and deeper soil and less exposure to the fire regimes.

Floristic Characteristics and Structure:

The major feature is the age, height and diverse tall eucalypt forest canopy to 25 metres with some very restricted and patchy distribution of E. baileyana (Bailey's stringybark) and E. planchoniana (Planchon's stringybark), and large old growth E. microcorys (tallowwood). There were trees with restricted distribution including Eucalyptus tindaliae (Queensland white mahogany), E. carnea (broad-leaved white mahogany), E. seeana (narrow-leaved red gum), E. henryi (large-fruited spotted gum), and E. siderophloia (grey ironbark).

 Other diverse eucalypts include E. maculata (spotted gum), E. propinqua (grey gum), E. resinifera (red mahogany), E. intermedia and E. trachyphloia (bloodwoods), Lophostemon suaveolens (swamp box), Angophora leiocarpa (rusty gum), and locally common, with a restricted distribution: Angophora woodsiana (smudgee).

 The middle to lower stratum includes Allocasuarina torulosa (corky-barked forest she-oak), Alphitonia excelsa (soap tree), Acacia aulacocarpa (hickory wattle) and occasional Acacia maidenii (Maiden's wattle).

 Frequently occurring ground cover plants include Dianella caerulea (pale blue flax-lily), Lepidosperma laterale (variable saw-sedge), Lomandra multiflora (many-flowered mat-rush), Gahnia aspera (saw-sedge), Hibbertia stricta (erect guinea flower), with Themeda, Aristida and Entolasia species (native grasses).

 Dominant tree species are E. microcorys, E. seeana, E. tindaliae, E. resinifera, E. tereticornis, E. siderophloia, E. umbra, E.signata and E. propinqua. There have been recent sitings of Koala and heavy utilisation was apparent from faecal pellets, scuffed bark and scratch marks on trees, due to the higher numbers of preferred food trees and higher soil fertility, moisture and nutrient availability.

 Ecological Values for Fauna Species:

 This area provides an abundance of preferred and well utilised food trees for both koala and greater glider (both observed during spotlighting surveys). The occurrence of Allocasuarina torulosa provides a valuable food resource for the Vulnerable Calyptorhynchus lathami (glossy black cockatoo), which has been observed in the adjoining Karawatha Forest, and suitable habitat and hunting range of Ninox strenua (powerful owl).

This would include Species of Special Interest Tachyglossus aculeatus (Short-beaked echidna) and Phascolarctos cinereus (koala), Petaurus breviceps (sugar glider) a range of avifauna.

The sheltered understorey of low shrubs, grass and herbage provides valuable habitat for wallaby, goanna and small mammals, as well as several bird species. Standing dead trees, branch and tree hollows provide nesting sites for gliders, possums, owls, parrot family, kookaburra and kingfisher. Forage value for koala, greater glider from leaves of tallowwood, stringybarks and sugar and squirrel gliders have been observed feeding on flowering banksias on ridgeline (Qld Uni. study).

Most of these species are preferred and well utilised koala food trees, and are also important for a range of avifauna.

This area of remaining bushland provides valuable habitat for koala, wallaby, possum, glider, goanna, small mammals, and diverse range of birds.

 Threats:

This area is in good condition due to the limited uncontrolled access by trail bike and four wheel drives, with major impact being from frequent fire regimes. This area would greatly benefit from acquisition and fencing because it provides a valuable forest buffer to Compton Road and essential fauna linkage to Karawatha Forest.

Any further development of the remaining catchment of Spring Creek (ridgeline and adjoining gully networks), will have a detrimental impact upon significant plant species and reduce the habitat for fauna (breeding and the effective movement of faunal species), from Karawatha Forest Reserve to Kuraby forest and network of creek corridors north of Compton Road.

The construction of the Southern Brisbane Bypass has separated the forest mosaic and valuable forest connection to Persse Road and severing the eastern and western catchments of Bulimba Creek.

 

 


To Environmental Advisor,

Lord Mayors Office

11th June, 1997

Dear ,

 I have been commissioned by Karawatha Forest Protection Society to prepare a submission on the ecological attributes of the remnant forest north of Compton Road, and to highlight its environmental significance in an effort to acquire the area.

 The Kuraby remnant forest has high ecological significance due to an interesting mosaic of forests and many fragile habitats, with numerous species of regional significance; which has been greatly enhanced following my recent collection, and verifification by the Brisbane Herbarium as Xylomelum salicinum (coastal woody pear), a plant last collected from Sunnybank, Eight Mile Plains area in 1918, now probably gone the way of urban development.

 The Herbarium consider this species as extremely uncommon in the Brisbane region and discussions with other botanists consider this species and habitat as very significant; considering it was not recorded in Karawatha and Paratz property, or Toohey Forest.

 This species only occurred in one specific location, on land currently owned by the State Government Department of Local Government and Housing; with no long-term assurance of its continued survival. It would be hoped that this current submission and recent collection of coastal woody pear would be a trigger for acquisition of Kuraby forest, and inclusion into the Karawatha Forest Reserve.

The Kuraby bushland is an essential core area that performs an important corridor function using creeks and forest linkages to Karawatha Forest and urban matrix to other bushland; but this will only become a reality if there is a concerted effort by council planners to ensure security of tenure.

 Currently, there is no guarantee that State Government owned land will not be sold for future development, and no guarantee that BCC recommendation for inclusion of Kuraby forest in an Urban Nature Park will influence or impact on the State Government.

 Any further development of the remaining catchment of Spring Creek (ridgeline and adjoining gully networks), will have a detrimental impact upon significant plant species and reduce the habitat for fauna (breeding and the effective movement of faunal species), from Karawatha Forest Reserve to Kuraby forest and network of creek corridors north of Compton Road.

 I appeal to you to make a concerted effort to lobby all interested parties to ensure there is protection of these vulnerable sandstone catchment areas, and including possible acquisition of remnant forest for inclusion into Karawatha Forest

Reserve and rightly accord Kuraby with National Estate status.

 There will be continuing discussions with Brisbane Herbarium with regards to the upgraded status and categorisation of coastal woody pear as rare to vulnerable, and perhaps you could advise me on the appropriate steps necessary for acquiring Kuraby forest.

 It would appear critical that high level discussions need to take place to include Kuraby forest into the Karawatha Forest Reserve; which also has National Estate listing.

 A more detailed submission is currently being prepared, outlining the environmental significance of Kuraby forest, and any further significant information will be forwarded to you upon completion

 Yours sincerely,

 David Gasteen

Environmental Consultant for BREC,

Brisbane Region Environment Centre

 


Potential Impacts of Development

 Another important consideration for remaining forest west of the proposed route alignment, will be to ensure it is not cleared for development, further degrading the Bulimba Creek catchment and drainage lines, threatening survival of remaining fauna habitat.

 Areas of spectacular sandstone outcrops overlooking Spring Creek and rocky screed surface, and steep drainage lines and gullies with sandstone and gravelly surface which are highly prone to erosion when disturbed by trail bikes and four wheel drive vehicles.

 The Kuraby bushland is an essential core area that performs an important corridor function using creek and urban matrix to Karawatha Forest and other bushland; but this will only become a reality if there is a concerted effort by planners to ensure security of tenure.

 Currently, there is no guarantee that State Government owned land will not be subject to future development and land clearing, because it is not subject to BCC recommendation for inclusion of Kuraby forest in an Urban Nature Park.

 There is a well developed canopy which includes areas of paperbark tea trees, cheese tree, swamp box, with co-dominant grey gum, forest red gum, tallowwood, white mahogany and brush box.

Understorey species include Acacia fimbriata, Acacia aulacocarpa, Pultenaea retusa, Leptospermum polygalifolium (wild may) and Callistemon salignus (white bottlebrush), with several species of interest on lower slopes, gully and ridgelines with Eucalyptus henryi (large-leaved spotted gum) and understorey of Oxylobium aciculiferum (prickly shaggy-pea), Pultenaea euchila (blue-leaf bush pea), and uncommon Xanthorrhoea macronema (bottlebrush grass tree).; whilst many of these are not directly affected by the clearing, there has been significant danmage to the vegetation and integrity of the Slack's Creek catchment.

 A major factor flowing from the severing of Scrubby Creek, Slacks Creek and Bulimba Creek systems by roads needs to be redressed and implemented immediately, including overhead fauna crossings, revegetation of all creek corridors, and strengthening by-laws over remnant unsecured bushland.

The onus must be directed to the Department of Transport to adopt the above mentioned solutions to fauna movement; in consideration of their non-provision of adequate fauna crossings by building the road at ground level and cutting through elevated bushland.

 The vision for the fauna crossings can abe achieved from road budget to facilitate movement, and should be 50-100 metres wide using suspension supports and possibly street light towers, with canopy of sails or similar shade cloth to allow safe passage of fauna such as gliders, possums, koala, goanna and snakes. The construction details are to be researched, but their construction is a matter of urgency to maitain fauna survival and access to core bushland habitat.

 Any future road construction must include elevated sections to allow safe passage of fauna under the roads rather than risk death or serious injuries trying to run the gauntlet crossing the multitude of road networks.

 Theis data assists with assessment and discussion of important vegetation and fauna habitat and movement (fauna crossing and overpasses), as indicated on CMPS&F maps that showed width at Illaweena Street and Scrubby Creek as 30 metres and 100 metres.

 

I was involved in bush regeneration, rehabilitation and revegetation projects with BCC (Brisbane City Council 1979-81), restoring areas around the water reservoir, including degraded areas adjoining; and have good working knowledge of forest types north of Compton Road from field reconnaissance.

As a member of the Wildlife Preservation Society, I have been aware of the need for bushland management and preservation both within Karawatha and regionally; especially the provision of continuous forest habitat for koala and wallaby, with adequate provision of corridors and drainage lines for wildlife movement.

 Several field traverses were undertaken to assess the suitability and utilisation of habitat by koalas for the Karawatha Forest Protection Society including long term survival and movement facilitation in the region, in the light of the Southern Brisbane Bypass, housing development and road upgrading.

I have recent experience of koala utilisation of the Kuraby bushland from survey work undertaken for Griffith University, assessing the impact of the proposed route alignment for the Southern Brisbane Bypass, in particular vegetation and koala utilisation and their movement patterns.

 Background information was originally sought from Bernice Volz (Karawatha Forest Protection Society), including discussion of specific areas of concern, access to colour aerial photographs, cadastral maps with contours, Bimap and drawing of proposed Karawatha-Kuraby-Bulimba Creek Natural Area Network.

 Aerial photos enabled an overview of the route, especially forest cover, regrowth, cleared or disturbed areas such as quarry, roads and tracks, and all catchment areas, drainage lines and creeks; these were examined by field reconnaissance of forest remnants.

 Examination of koala utilisation was undrertaken to assess species diversity within each discrete habitat type (creek, drainage line, woodland heath, or tall open forest), trunk diameter, and koala utilisation based on faecal pellets, scratch marks and scuffed bark on trees).

 There are three major catchments which cover the entire corridor area,

 A further point of concern is the separation of food trees by fencing 5-10 metres in from the edge of motorway embankment rather than along the top of embankment, making access to these trees somewhat more difficult.

 The vegetation north of Beenleigh Road has been modified by clearing, grazing, introduced grasses and pine trees, apart from intact forest in Wally Tate Park, that has also been fragmented by power easement, with regrowth preventing connection with adjoining woodland and riparian vegetation along Bulimba Creek.

 

It is also apparent that these fires are a direct result of uncontrolled access tracks into and through Karawatha, using the power easement and several entry points; any future management plans should include fencing as high priority, in particular the power easement to prevent easy entry into bushland reserves.

The other detrimental effect of the unrestricted access is the resultant frequent fire regime in which many areas are burnt on a regular basis (yearly and sometimes twice yearly), rather than at 5-7 year intervals in accordance with fire management practices.

  

References

 Catterall, C.P. (1993a). `Report on the Conservation Values of the "Paratz Land" within Karawatha Forest, Brisbane." Report to the Brisbane City Council.

 Sinclair, L. Jermyn, D. Preston & Catterall, C. (1993) `Status and Change of Native Vegetation in South-East Queensland 1974-1989.' SEQ 2001, QDHLGP, Brisbane.

 Thompson, E.J. (1993) `Description and Evaluation of the Vegetation on the Paratz Land, Stretton.' Report prepared for the Karawatha Forest Protection Society

Thompson, E.J. (1994) `The Vegetation of the Koala Bushland Coordinated Conservation Area, S.E. Queensland.' Report prepared for Logan City Council.