Rainforest & Wildlife work
September 21, 2011
The World Heritage forests of Gibraltar Range NP are adjacent to the rainforest here at Gibraltar Reserve, with mostly cleared farmland to the east. Over 180 species of bird have been recorded here, along with a host of other wildlife we're still identifying, and there is much more to be discovered.
Stray unmanaged cattle have been unlawfully deposited on the Reserve, causing impacts to our tourism & farming business plans. This has occured because the livestock owner wishes to profit from grazing, at the expense of the landholder. We have erected livestock exclusion fencing at our own expense, and continue to remove stray stock.
With the assistance of the Conservation Partners program (NSW DECCW) and the neighbouring National Parks we are managing the land for positive ecological and social outcomes.
The vast majority of the local low elevation country is grazed by cattle, and has had forest cleared. At Gibraltar Reserve, the land is recovering from grazing impacts, including the grassland and rainforest and the numerous protected species found there. This will help ensure the sustainable use of some of the valuable natural resources (biodiversity) present. A native fruit orchard has been planted and will continue to be developed.
The diversity of plants and animals found here is an asset to the local and global community, as this diversity of natural resources is absent in much of the degraded adjacent farmland, due to grazing impacts. This rainforest discovery project will enable us to protect and improve the land and the flora & fauna dependent on it.
Stray unmanaged cattle have previously been unlawfully deposited on the Reserve, causing impacts to our tourism & farming business plans. This has occured because the livestock owner wishes to profit from grazing, at the expense of the landholder. We have erected livestock exclusion fencing at our own expense, and continue to remove stray stock.
Lantana is being managed, particularly in the rainforest. In 2004-2005 we were assisted by the then NSW Department of Primary Industries, in applying a biological control, as part of an experiment to see how effective a fungus was in combatting the invasive Lantana. It is likely this control was briefly effective, but not capable of sustaining itself due to the local climate. A number of other biological controls in the form of invertebrates are already present, and continue to provide some measure of control by eating the leaves of the plant.
Crofton weed and Castor oil plant are also being managed, which is assisting the regrowth of native vegetation.
The Brush-tailed Phascogale in the photograph was unusual in it's daytime appearance, and the choice of habitat (kitchen cutlery drawer).
The Koala photographed with it's offspring is using a Brushbox tree for a rest, with many favourable food trees also present in the forest.
Bell Miners occupy some areas of forest, with Bellbird Creek and Bellbird Gully being named after their historical presence. Forest dieback associated with this species is being studied and it is considered a threatening process in some situations. There is scope for further studies of these actions at Gibraltar Reserve if resources become available.