Property Landcare We value our role as guardians of the land under our care and continue to improve and reflect on our below landcare practices ranging from participating in government supported governance of land as a Nature refuge, to the way we mange fire or our flora and fauna. You can help with these practices by becoming a member of Wild Mountains and participating in decision making for the wellbeing of our land or volunteering to help on the ground. Nature Refuge Wild Mountains is a Nature Refuge and supports the agreement under Nature Conservation Act 1992. The land under Trust has been gazetted as the Wild Mountains Nature Reserve - a Nature Refuge. The Nature Refuges Program partners with landholders to protect land for conservation. Through the program, landholders can play an integral role in protecting the state's biodiversity by establishing a nature refuge on their property. A nature refuge is an area of land voluntarily protected for conservation, while allowing compatible and sustainable land uses to continue. Geology Wild Mountains is located on Lever’s Plateau which forms part of the McPherson Range straddling the Queensland – New South Wales border. The McPherson Range comprises basalt layers of the Lamington Group, laid down firstly by the Focal Peak Volcano and then by the Tweed Volcano around 23 million years ago. Subsequent erosion has left the McPherson Range as a high altitude link between the Main Range in the west (part of the Great Dividing Range) and the Lamington Plateau to the east. The Basalts have weathered into deep red soils in wetter areas and black soils in more exposed areas. High rainfall and rich volcanic soil support complex rainforests of national and international significance. The area is noted for high peaks, steep ridges, narrow valleys and tumbling streams. Wild Mountains is at the headwaters of Camp Creek which flows into Running Creek. Wild Mountains received acknowledgement for its work in regenerating the Camp Creek head water receiving the “Healthy Water Ways” award in 2012. Biodiversity Hotspot and World Heritage Area The McPherson Range is a declared National Hotspot for Biodiversity. High levels of biodiversity are known to occur here, due to a phenomenon called the Macleay Overlap. This is a zone of overlap between generally northern species of Australian flora and fauna and southern species. The area contains a mixture of both northern and southern species. As well, a number of locally endemic species occur here, as the area has acted as a refuge during past climate change events. National Parks on the McPherson Range are also included in the World Heritage listed Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia (CERRA). The Wild Mountains Nature Reserve adjoins the Border Ranges National Park (in NSW) and the CERRA World Heritage area and would share World Heritage values. Therefore, conservation efforts in this area are of international significance. Landscape ZonesFour landscape zones have been identified in the Wild Mountains Nature Reserve: High Rainforest Zone: Complex Notophyll Rainforest at the head of Camp Creek on deep red basalt soil. This zone forms the habitat for most of the rare and threatened species identified so far. Road Buffer Zone: Dry eucalypt forest in the road reserve and a buffer of 20 metres from the road. This zone suffers from edge effects along the road. Dry Eucalypt Forest Zone: Complex Woodland on a steep basalt slope with a grassy understorey. This zone has a northerly aspect and is prone to fires from neighbouring properties. Low Rainforest Zone: A mix of Brush Box Wet Sclerophyll Forest and Hoop Pine complex Microphyll Vine Forest in a gully at the northern end of the covenant area. This area is quite inaccessible and not prone to fire. These Landscape Zones represent distinct areas with specialised vegetation communities, habitats, and landform. Each area presents different challenges for management and conservation. Revegetation of Disturbed AreasThe vegetation on the property is largely undisturbed. Past logging and land use practices have not impacted significantly and the forest communities have largely recovered. Natural regeneration is the preferred methodology to restore disturbance within the covenant area. Revegetation may be required where areas have had a high amount of weed removal or the level of disturbance has exceeded the potential for natural regenerative processes. If revegetation is needed, then only local provenance of species will be used. Weed Management The presence of priority weed species threatens the environmental values of the covenant area. Priority weeds are defined as plant species detrimental to the desired landscape outcome, and are assessed against the following characteristics: Degree of alteration to the landscape and habitat faunal values Potential threat to the survival of planted and remnant native plant communities Amount of effort required to reduce weed species population, and Rate of growth to adult maturity. All reasonable measures are taken by Wild Mountains to reduce the distribution and numbers of priority weeds. High Rainforest Zone: This zone is relatively weed-free. The area will be regularly monitored for any weed outbreak. Incursions by Lantana camara and environmental weed vines will be managed as a matter of high priority. Dry Eucalypt Forest Zone: This zone has significant infestations of pasture legumes – Silver-leaved Desmodium, Glycine and Axillaris. A five year control programme will aim to eradicate these weeds from areas closest to the road. As there is no access beyond this, due to steepness of the slope, weed control will not be attempted apart from keeping the area as natural as possible by excluding fire if possible. Road Buffer Zone: This zone is often the source of weed establishment. Active monitoring and a long term integrated weed control strategy will be undertaken for pasture legumes and exotic grasses. Low Rainforest Zone: This zone is largely inaccessible and weed control will not be attempted. Isolation measures will be adopted to prevent weed seeds from migrating from infested areas into weed-free areas. A strategic approach will also be continued through weed control on neighbouring properties. Priority weeds will need to be removed as circumstances allow, but generally in accordance with below Table 2. Our program is flexible and is aimed to be reviewed yearly. Table 2: Five Year Weed Removal Work Program. Year Area of Axillaris/Glycine to be cleared Area of Silver-leaved Desmodium to be cleared 1 10,000 sq m 1,000 sq m 2 5,000 sq m 1,000 sq m 3 2,000 sq m 2,000 sq m 4 2,000 sq m 2,000 sq m 5 2,000 sq m 1,000 sq m At Wild Mountains we regularly monitor for “declared weeds” (Class 2) under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 as well as for “environmental weeds” (Class 3). In particular, the Scenic Rim Regional Council has listed the following weeds as being a priority in the Running Creek area and will be actively eradicated if found. Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) Small-leaved Privet (Ligustrum sinense) Broad-leaved Privet (Ligustrum licidum) Chinese Elm (Celtis sinensis) Broad-leaved Pepper Tree (Schinus terebinthifolia) Cat’s Claw Creeper (Macfadyena unguis-cati) Madeira vine (Andredera cordifolia) Asparagus fern (Asparagus plumosus and Asparagus africanus) Lantana (Lantana camara) A supplementary weed species list may be undertaken as part of any Flora Survey conducted by Council (refer to Appendix 2). For up-to-date listings of Pest Plants under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 and their control contact the Department of Natural Resources and Water on 07 3405 5537 or visit their web site at www.nrm.qld.gov.au. Regional Ecosystems The Wild Mountains Nature Reserve contains significant areas of remnant vegetation identified under the Vegetation Management Act 1999, as complex Microphyll Vine Forest categorised and “Of Concern”. Table 1: Regional Ecosystems recorded on the property by the Environmental Protection Agency Regional Ecosystem Type Brief Description Conservation Status 12.8.4 Complex Notophyll Rainforest with scattered dominant Araucaria. Not Of Concern 12.8.13 Complex Microphyll/Notophyll Vine Forest dominated by Araucaria. Of concern 12.8.17 Open Woodland with Eucalyptus crebra, E. melanophloia, E. tereticornis, E. melliodora, Corymbia intermedia, Angophora subvelutina. Not of Concern Fire Fire has been a regular influence on parts of the Wild Mountains Nature Reserve. The Road Buffer Zone and the Dry Eucalypt Forest Zone have been burnt completely every three years on average, since 1990. Fires usually start in neighbouring properties for pasture improvement purposes in early Spring and spread up the nearest ridge-lines into the covenant area. Regrowth of trees and shrubs has been limited as a result. The Low Rainforest Zone has naturally excluded fire. The road on top of the ridge acts as a reliable barrier against fire in the High Rainforest Zone. Limited fuel reduction burns have been carried out along the road. We will continue to be excluded fire from rainforest in the High Rainforest Zone. Sufficient effort will be directed to stopping fire from influencing the rainforest area through fuel reduction along roadways and adjacent woodland areas. A network of tracks will be used to control fires and reduce fuel loads. It is recommended that patches of eucalypt woodland in the Dry Eucalypt Forest Zone be fired at a frequency of 10 – 15 years in accordance with the SEQ Fire and Biodiversity Consortium fire management guidelines. It is not expected that any burns be undertaken for biodiversity purposes. Wild Mountains Nature Reserve continues to investigate ways to reduce the frequency of fire in the Dry Eucalypt Forest Zone. Wild Mountains Nature Reserve will kept records of fire frequency and extent and are available to members on request. Stormwater and Erosion Erosion control measures have been taken to minimise the loss of sediment to local creeks when undertaking road maintenance or construction activities. Vegetated buffers around management areas will be maintained to prevent sediment from entering the Wild Mountains Nature Reserve area. Road easements through the property will be maintained to reduce sediment loads from entering the Wild Mountains Nature Reserve. Stormwater runoff from the Education Centre (tank overflow, roof runoff, road/driveway runoff) will be trapped and controlled to minimise erosion and transport of sediment. It is noted that Council maintains the public road and that the landowner would not be accountable for adverse impacts of such activities. Work crews would be expected to minimise damage to vegetation in the road reserve and to prevent sediment from entering the covenant area. Trails and Tracks The area contains a number of walking tracks. Tracks have been maintained to minimise erosion and disturbance. New tracks are planned to be constructed through the Dry Eucalypt Forest Zone for educational and land management purposes due to fire. Old access/logging tracks will undergo natural regeneration with special monitoring of weeds and erosion. Chytrid Fungus protocols will be followed during track construction work. Vehicle Access Vehicles will not be allowed to enter the covenant area except for the Road Buffer Zone in emergency situations or for essential maintenance. Grazing and Fencing (Logging) There will be no grazing by domestic stock in the covenanted area. Fences will be maintained as appropriate and in strategic locations to exclude stock. No trees from the covenanted area will be used for fencing material. Fallen Timber As fallen timber provides habitat for wildlife and ultimately returns nutrients to the soil, no fallen timber will be moved from the areas under Covenant, except in the Road Buffer Zone, where fuel reduction is required from time to time. Fallen timber ought to be removed from around special habitat trees in case of fire, but the timber should be left in the conservation area. Firewood is not to be collected from within the Wild Mountains Nature Reserve.