Threats to Conservation Reserve


By: Michael Fox

Join us for 2016 Clean Up Australia.

Each year an enthusiastic team comes together to clean up Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, collecting a strange collection of rubbish like car tires, as well as, the usual fast food > fast rubbish.

The 2011 Clean Up results were excellent:

  • 31 volunteers
  • 35 bags of rubbish (white)
  • 20 bags of recyclables (yellow)
  • Most unusual item found:
    • a full suitcase of clothing!

Planning the 2016 Clean Up Australia, with coordinator Heather Woods, has highlighted the results of the annual clean up. With the old car tires, suitcases, a piano and TVs removed, and the gates locked at night, the Reserve is looking good.

Be a Lantana Weed Buster.

Our annual Clean Up Australia has been so successful we have decided to offer an option to be a Lantana Weed Buster for a Morning. Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses is one of our major weed threats in the Reserve. Lantana competes for native plants for scarce water reserves and the chemicals in Lantana have a significant negative effects on native plant species:

“… lantana excludes native species through smothering and allelopathic effects –  toxicity to other plants.” Lantana—A Weed of National Significance

Join us for a morning in the bush. Register Now for Clean Up or Weed-busting

 

Amanda McArthur 2 - 26 Sept 2016

Amanda launched her attack on Ochna

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates friends returned for Fox Gully Bushcare last Saturday.

The job for the day was attacking our three most invasive weeds.

Amanda launched her attack on the Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata. Ochna is a garden escapee that spreads when birds eat the bright coloured berries then fly into the bush, then spreads quickly as the shrubs get established.

Ochna is a particularly difficult weed to remove because of the deep tap-root.  The Treepopper is the ideal weapon attack these woody weeds and you get a great sense of satisfaction as you pull these weeds out roots and all, and no poison needed.

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Emmanuel - 26 Sept 2015

Emmanuel attacks Asparagus Fern

Emmanuel launched his attack on another garden escapee – Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus – again spread by birds eating the red fruit.

Emmanuel used a Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe to remove the Asparagus Fern before trimming off the leaves and roots and collecting the crown for removal off-site. The crown is the brain of the Asparagus Fern, so removal means the plant will not regrow.

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Tomorrow - 26 Sept 2015

Tomorrow identifies Basket Fern from her visit to Cairns

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It is a real pleasure to share the forest with our international visitors. I was particularly impressed when Tomorrow identified Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula.

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow - team - 26 Sept 2015

Emmanuel and Tomorrow team up against Ochna

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow teamed up to tackle the Ochna.

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Emmanuel and Tomorrow - 26 Sept 2015

WOW! That is a big Ochna root

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With Tomorrow digging using the 2 Prong Hoe and Emmanuel on the Treepopper the team managed to pull out the largest Ochna trunk I have seen.

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Lantana team - 26 Sept 2015

Lantana team (l-r) Sienna, Amanda, Ho Yi and Sau To

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Sienna, Amanda, Ho Yi and Sau To attacked the Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses again a garden escapee spread by birds eating the purple fruit.

The Lantana team cleared a large area of weed, raking it into swales to compost, control water runoff and reduce spread of weed seed.

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Stick Case Moth - 26 Sept 2015

Stick Case Moth Clania lewinii

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A successful morning for all. Amanda filled her five specimen containers with a bush cockroach, butterfly and other insects for her university collection.

We also added Stick Case Moth Clania lewinii to our species list for the Reserve.

The shape and construction materials of a case moth’s portable home allow identification of the moth species. Stick Case Moths build their case moth bags using sticks of similar length. Similar bags are built the Faggot Case Moth Clania ignobilis with one or two longer sticks.

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Ants - 26 Sept 2015

Meeting the locals – Golden-tailed Spiny Ant nest

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How better to finish the day?

I showed how turning over a couple of rocks could expose a whole new world.

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Golden-tailed Spiny Ant - 22 July 2014 - Alan Moore - close

Golden-tailed Spiny Ant up close

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The Golden-tailed Spiny Ant Polyrhachis ammon really are spiny. Click on photo to enlarge.

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Koala Mum & Joey

Koala Mum & Joey

By: Michael Fox

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus breeding season is roughly August to February.

For some weeks we have been listening to the fighting, bellowing, screaming at night and this morning a Koala mum and baby was sitting in an Acacia just beside the Farm Fire Trail.

Koala Life Cycle poster – Australian Koala Foundation

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Koalas are returning to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. An extraordinary example of the resilience of nature if we give it a chance. As recently as August 1927 over 500,000 Queensland Koalas were hunted for their pelts.

“From 1 to 31 August 1927, Queensland held what was to be the last open hunting season on koalas in Australia. David Stead, President of the Wild Life Preservation Society of Australia, warned that 300,000 would be killed. This figure was ridiculed in certain quarters, but as later events would show, even Stead underestimated the carnage. The Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture and Stock for the year1927-28 gives the number of koalas “secured” as being 584,738.”

Dog off - 9 Oct 2014

Pick-up after your dog

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Hunting is no longer a threat however in our urban environment dogs are a threat to the returning Koalas. A quick bite, even from a small dog, can kill through infection or shock.
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My dog would only play with it. Even a quick bite is enough to kill a Koala. A Koala’s skin is very pliable, with little fat for protection, and internal organs are easily punctured. Some Koalas may appear to have survived a dog attack with very few visible signs of external trauma but may be suffering from internal injuries and may die later from shock or infection. Stress alone might also be enough to trigger other problems such as disease.
During breeding season it is particularly important to keep dogs on a leash within the Reserve and pick up after your dog.

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Asparagus Fern - 2 Prong Hoe - June 2014

Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe

By: Michael Fox

Garden escapees like Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus are one of three key threats to the long term future of the two hundred sixty-nine native plant species found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Weeding a 66ha reserve is a bit more of a challenge than managing the average backyard and the bushcare workforce are all volunteers. So getting the “right tool for the job” is critical for team productivity and workplace safety.

Asparagus Fern - 2 Prong - edges - June 2014

Waging war on weeds

The Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe is an excellent general purpose tool for restoration work:

  • light weight allows longer periods of continuous use; and
  • long handle reduces back strain by reducing bending and allows for safer access to weedy slopes.

Most important the 2 Prong Hoe is the ideal weapon for attacking the prickly difficult to tackle Asparagus Fern.

Asparagus Fern - seeds - close - 3 June 2014 - Alan Moore

Major source of re-infection

The strong narrow prongs easily hook in under the crown of the plant allowing the whole root mat to be lifted out in one piece. For larger plants where to root mat for one plant can be cover more than one square metre use the hoe to lift the root mat around the edges to reduce the weight before lifting from the crown.

Remember to wear gloves when you attack this prickly weed. I like the Flex Tuff gloves which offer good protection while allow a good sense of touch.

Asparagus Fern is highly infectious with dozens of seeds that birds love so every plant removed is one less source of re-infection.

Removing Chinese Elm with Treepopper

Removing Chinese Elm with Tree Popper

By: Michael Fox

Marshal and I tackled the Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis infestation in Fox Gully Bushcare this morning. Mature Chinese Elms can reach 20 metres in backyard gardens.

A Tree Popper is the ideal tool for this job allowing us to remove all but six larger Elms without using poison. The largest we removed with the Popper as about twice my height with an extensive spreading root system.

In total we removed 40 Chinese Elms, about 30 Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla, dozens of Micky Mouse Plants Ochna serrulata, Camphor Laurels Cinnamomum camphora, Small Leaf Privet Ligustrum sinense and Indian Hawthorne Rhaphiolepis indica.

Chinese Elm with extensive root system

Chinese Elm with extensive root system

The Tree Popper is perfect for use in safely and easily removing these woody weeds in bush restoration sites. The jaws of the Popper clamp around the trunk and the long handle provides leverage to pull the weed roots and all. The Popper is particularly useful for tackling the deep-rooted Micky Mouse Plant.

Using Cyclone 2-Prong Hoe we also removed two garbage bags of Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus and Climbing Asparagus Fern Asparagus plumosus. The long handle and sharp prongs of the 2-Prong Hoe reach past the prickly leaves and the prongs get right under the crown of the plant allowing the complete weed mat to be removed quickly and easily.

 

Source of infection - mature Umbrella Tree

Source of infection – mature Umbrella Tree

By: Michael Fox

After inspecting Fox Gully Bushcare site Zone 10, I yesterday removed 53 small and 6 large mature Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla. A similar infestation in Zone 11 will be removed this week. I also removed a number of Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora and Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis trees, as well as, Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses. These environmental weeds are all spread by seeds being eaten by birds and other animals.

Umbrella Trees, from North Queensland, produce a large number of seeds which are spread from backyards to bushland or other backyards when eaten by birds. The cluster of over fifty small trees in a limited area shows how quickly these environmental weeds can spread and impact on the native plant species or invade a neighbour’s backyard. Seeds from the large trees were bagged for disposal offsite to reduce the risk of re-infection.

Umbrella Tree seeds

Umbrella Tree seeds

Weeds are one of the three key threats to the long term bio-diversity of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Most weed infections are caused by seeds spread by birds or wind, or result from dumping of garden waste including grass clippings in the bush. One of the most frustrating parts of our bush restoration work is dealing with restored areas re-infected with seeds dispersed from urban backyards.

You can support the efforts of Habitat Brisbane

 

Cluster of young Umbrella Trees

Cluster of young Umbrella Trees

Bushcare groups across the city by removing the sources of infection from your backyard.

  • Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla
  • Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora
  • Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis
  • Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses

 

 

 

 

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Kristen introduces Elsa to international visitors

By: Michael Fox

International students are an important group of potential volunteers for bush restoration work so Kristen and  Elsa the Koala joined us at the QIBT (Queensland Institute of Business Technology) OWeek Market.

Elsa, who normally lives at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre, was a real hit with  students from as far away as Japan, China and Sri Lanka. Kristan also amazed students with the body of a three day old joey Koala. Just 30mm long the joey would have made an extraordinary journey to its mother pouch after birth. Unfortunately the mother was hit by a car shortly after and the joey was found in the mother’s pouch.

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Elsa – Koala Phascolarctos cinereus

In south-east Queensland we are lucky to still have some significant Koala habitat with protected areas like Daisy Hill Koala Centre however development pressure is impacting. In Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and surrounding urban areas we are seeing a return of Koalas that, as recently as 1927, were hunted for their pelts. Nature is giving us a second chance with Koalas so  students engaged in restoration of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve will be making a valuable contribution to a unique Koala habitat just fifteen minutes from Brisbane CBD and right beside their university campus. Students are also invited to visit Daisy Hill Koala Centre – free entry.

Free Dog Behaviour Seminar – Reducing your dog’s impact on Wildlife

Daisy Hill Koala Centre – Sunday 30 March. Dogs off-leash are one of the three key threats to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Take the opportunity to learn about making your dog wildlife friendly.

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