Protect The Gap Rainforest

The second Walk The Creek event was held at Watercress Farm on 14 July 2022. Project Botanist Dr Rob Price told the group he had recently become aware of a scientific paper which provides information on how to deduce the age of mature Eucalyptus species. Download a PDF of the paper called Growth Rates Of Eucalyptus and other Australian native tree species derived from seven decades of growth monitoring. Guided by the paper Rob was able to make estimations of the age of some of the trees being recorded. At the end of the walk he was able to report trees estimated to be more than 300 years old.

The first Walk The Creek event was held at Yoorala Street on 10 June 2022. Information on plant species is being recorded using the app iNaturalist. Anyone can view the current observations by logging onto the Protect The Gap Rainforest project page on the iNaturalist website.

Background

The working group kicked off the project on 2 April 2022 by adopting the following terms of reference:

  1. Review the status of vegetation, plantings and access in this part of Enoggera and Fish Creeks following recent flooding.
  2. Identify ways in which the seven existing Habitat Brisbane groups can work together better.
  3. Identify and implement actions to progress Sown Enoggera Creek Plan Action 2.2 Protect The Gap Rainforest: Protect and maintain ‘endangered’ rainforest remnant areas (RE 12.3.16) along Enoggera Creek between Enoggera Reservoir and the entry of Fish Creek.
  4. Report to the SOWN Management Committee as required and review the operation of the working group at the end of 2022.

The working group agreed to Walk the Creek by visiting each of the seven sites involved – to review flooding damage, identify significant vegetation, and to discuss future actions and plantings. These visits would aim to involve group leaders, invited botanists, people with historical knowledge, and interested SOWN members. The first Walk the Creek was held on 10 June 2022.

Second Walk The Creek event on 14 July 2022 at the Watercress Farm bushcare site, Allamanda Street The Gap. The project botanist Dr Rob Price is first on the left. PHOTO: Ed Bennett

 L-R Jodi Rees, Anne Jones, Brendan McIntyre, Klaus Querengasser (obscured), Marina Novak and Janet Mangan recording plant species using iNaturalist at the first Walk The Creek event on 10 June 2022. PHOTO: Renée McGlashan

Working group member John Abbott said residents of The Gap know we live in a special environment with lush, natural vegetation along our creeks.

“Few realise just how special or unique some of this vegetation is,” he said. The narrow corridor of trees along Enoggera Creek between Enoggera Dam and Walton Bridge Reserve contains many remnant rainforest plants and has been classified by the Queensland Herbarium as an ‘Endangered’ Regional Ecosystem (RE 12.3.16).

SOWN has seven bushcare groups working in this section of the creek. “We will be exploring how these groups can work together and better utilise their resources,” John said.

The signature tree species found in this section of Enoggera Creek is the Weeping Lilly Pilly Waterhousea floribunda. Other rainforest trees commonly found include Black Bean Castanospermun australe, Hoop Pines Araucaria cunninghamii, Kamalas Mallotus species and sandpaper and strangler figs Ficus species.

“Recent catchment planning by SOWN has highlighted the importance and threats to this remnant rainforest and the need to protect and maintain it,” John said.

Major threats to The Gap rainforest include clearing and encroachment of urban uses into the creek corridor, growth of weed trees such as Chinese Elm and Camphor Laurel, which are expensive to remove and proliferation of weed vines such as Cat’s Claw and Madeira Vine, which smother and kill mature trees.

Partnering with Brisbane City Council is also an important part of the plan. Council supports bushcare groups through its Habitat Brisbane program and undertakes activities such as removing large weed trees, as recently happened behind the high school.

iNaturalist

In 2022 the project began mapping the status of vegetation and plantings in The Gap on Enoggera and Fish Creeks. This information is being recorded using the app iNaturalist. Anyone can view the current observations by logging onto the Protect The Gap Rainforest project page on the iNaturalist website.

References

Ngugi, M.R., Doley, D., Cant, M. et al. Growth Rates Of Eucalyptus and other Australian native tree species derived from seven decades of growth monitoring. J. For. Res. 26, 811–826 (2015).

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Weeping Lilly Pilly in The Gap rainforest at Walton Bridge Reserve. PHOTO: Anne Jones