Day 1: Saturday 6 November 2010 – 11.15am-12.30pm

Synopsis – Fragments of Green – an introduction to Brisbane rainforests

At the time of European settlement, rainforests occupied an estimated 390,000 hectares within the Greater Brisbane Region. Less than half now remains – 154,000 ha – mostly on the steeper and more inaccessible ranges. The more accessible rainforests were logged for their valuable timbers, particularly Red Cedar (Toona ciliata), White Beech (Gmelina leichhardtii) and Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), and later cleared for dairying and cropping. Only fragments survive of the once extensive and rich rainforests on the river floodplains and the deep basaltic soils of the Blackall Range and the Beechmont and Mt Tamborine plateaus.

Structure and composition of rainforest remnants vary considerably within the region, reflecting the diversity of landforms, soils and climatic conditions. This session provides an outline of the different rainforest types and examples to be seen around Brisbane.

Bill is an ecologist at the Queensland Herbarium (Environmental Protection Agency) in Brisbane, and has been involved in vegetation survey and mapping projects throughout central and southern Queensland. From his earliest surveys in the Border Ranges he has had a particular interest in rainforest floristics and community patterns and was awarded his PhD in 1998 for a study of vine thicket communities (softwood scrubs). He is the co-author of popular field guides to subtropical rainforest trees, shrubs and climbers and a contributor to the Queensland Museum’s “Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane”.

He has worked extensively in the rainforests of south-eastern Queensland and the Eungella and Whitsunday rainforests of central Queensland. He is a member of scientific advisory committees for the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas.

Bill McDonald leading a BRAIN rainforest walk at Boombana.