Report to Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
About the plan
Community description and status
Mabi Forest or Complex Notophyll Vine Forest Type 5b (Tracey 1982) is listed as 'Critically Endangered' under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Under the EPBC Act, Mabi Forest is defined as those areas of Regional Ecosystem 7.8.3 and other patches identified as Complex Notophyll Vine Forest 5b in the Wet Tropics bioregion (DEH 2005). Since the listing, the Queensland Regional Ecosystem framework has been updated such that Mabi Forest (Tracey and Webb 1975, Tracey 1982) is now identified as Regional Ecosystems 7.8.3 (Complex Semi-Evergreen Notophyll Vine Forest of uplands on basalt) and 7.3.37 (Complex Semi-Evergreen Notophyll Vine Forest of uplands on alluvium). Both regional ecosystems are listed under the Queensland Vegetation Management Act 1999 as 'Endangered' (EPA 2005). This recovery plan provides actions for the recovery of both regional ecosystems.
Mabi Forest occurs within a restricted geographical range, primarily on the Atherton Tableland, approximately 50km southwest of Cairns, in Queensland's Wet Tropics bioregion, with several small remnant patches located near Cooktown in the Cape York Peninsula bioregion. Prior to European settlement, Mabi Forest on the Atherton Tableland occurred as continuous forest between Yungaburra in the east, Kairi - Cullamungie Pocket (now separated by Tinaroo Dam) to the north, Tolga in the west and past Wongabel State Forest in the south. Extensive clearing of Mabi Forest began around 1900 and greatly reduced its' extent (Tracey 1982, Graham et al. 1995, EPA 2005, Stanton and Stanton 2005). The current extent of Mabi Forest is 954.7 ha, of which 828.9 ha occurs on the Atherton Tableland (EPA 2005).
Clearing of Mabi Forest has left a severely fragmented and modified landscape, comprising remnant patches of various sizes, shapes, connectivity and condition. Fragmentation has allowed penetration by a range of serious weed species displacing native species and degrading habitat. Ecological processes such as seed dispersal are under threat, as fragments no longer support populations of the southern cassowary and musky rat-kangaroo; key seed dispersers in the Wet Tropics rainforests. Feral and domestic animals continue to threaten Mabi Forest wildlife due to predation. Grazing and other incompatible land management practices in the landscape, contribute to ongoing degradation of Mabi Forest remnants. Highly fragmented ecosystems like Mabi Forest, with their abrupt boundaries and high edge-to-area ratios, are vulnerable to the destructive forces of a severe cyclone.
To protect and rehabilitate Mabi Forest and, where possible, expand Mabi Forest into adjacent areas through an integrated program of habitat protection, on-ground management, rehabilitation, research and public involvement.
Summary of actions
Actions required to recovery Mabi Forest include, mapping the extent of remnant and rehabilitating Mabi Forest; undertaking biodiversity surveys of Mabi Forest fragments to assess condition for priority protection and management; reviewing and evaluating the regional planning framework to ensure that conservation of Mabi Forest is promoted and incorporated appropriately in planning, management and development assessment; developing strategies to enhance protection and management of Mabi Forest on private lands; rehabilitating disturbed areas and corridors of Mabi Forest based on established priorities; developing and implementing a weed management strategy; implementing a feral and domestic dog control program; minimising the impacts of roads and vehicles on Mabi Forest wildlife; encouraging landholders to develop and implement land management practices that are compatible with Mabi Forest recovery and agricultural sustainability; identifying information needs and design and conduct research on Mabi Forest; promoting and facilitating community and landholder involvement in recovery actions by raising community awareness; and facilitating Aboriginal participation in implementation of actions and the use of traditional knowledge in Mabi Forest recovery.