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Vanishing Vegetation of Far North Queensland
Mabi Forest - What is it?
Mabi Forest, also known as Complex Notophyll Vine Forest (or Type 5b), once covered the Atherton Tablelands area north and west of Malanda, occurring only on fertile basalt (red) soils in areas where rainfall is between 1300 and 1600mm. This forest type is now located solely within the Atherton Shire. It was originally classified in the 1960's by ecologists Len Webb and Geoff Tracey, based on its physical (structural) characteristics and species composition, using the Tolga Scrub as the basis for this description.
These structural characteristics include:
- many buttressed canopy trees up to 45m, with an uneven canopy
- a very well developed shrub layer one to three metres high
- presence of scattered, often deciduous and semi-evergreen trees
- tendency for heavy leaf fall in times of moisture stress
- stem diameters are uneven
- epiphytes are generally uncommon and orchids are rare
Widespread clearing of Mabi Forest has resulted in 3 plant species, the Pink Silky Oak, Atherton Sauropus (Sauropus macranthus) and Atherton Turkey Bush (Hodgkinsonia frutescens) being listed as 'vulnerable to extinction'. Four plants are listed as 'rare', the pink leaf Haplostichanthus, Coorangooloo Quandong (Elaeocarpus coorangooloo), Red Penda and Gray's Cryptolepis (Cryptolepis grayi).
Mabi Forest draws its name from the local aboriginal name for Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo (mabi or mapi), one of the most common large mammals in this forest type. Predominantly a leaf eater, this rare species is most abundant on the Atherton Tablelands where it is restricted to rainforests and adjacent wet sclerophyll (Eucalyptus) forests. This abundance is most likely related to climate, and the relatively high nutritional value of plant foliage in forests growing on these very fertile soils.
What can you do?
- You can assist by getting involved in the recovery of Mabi Forest.
- Don't dump garden refuse on the edges of Mabi remnants.
- Talk to your local, State and Federal representatives about more resources to assist in Mabi Forest recovery
- Talk to friends and neighbours who may have Mabi remnants on their properties.
- Consider joining a Landcare or Community Nature Conservation group such as TREAT (Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands Inc.) or the Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group (TKMG Inc.)
- Visit Mabi Forest and learn more about what makes it so different, and so vulnerable.
The booklet "Vanishing Vegetation of Far North Queensland Mabi (5b) Forest" can be downloaded as a PDF document here - Vanishing Vegetation of Far North Queensland Mabi_(5b)_Forest [Booklet full text, no pictures - 257kb]
A list of plant species occurring in Mabi Forest from the above booklet is available here Mabi Forest plant list
The Mabi forest Bird list from the above booklet is available here Mabi Forest Bird List
The booklet "Vanishing Vegetation of Far North Queensland Mabi (5b) Forest" is currently out of print.
For more information about how to get involved contact a Landcare or Community Nature Conservation group such as TREAT (Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands Inc.) or the Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group (TKMG Inc.)
The members of the Mabi Forest Working Group included people from the following organisations:
- Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
- QPWS - Restoration Services Lake Eacham nursery
- TREAT Inc.
- Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group Inc
- (former) Department of Natural Resources and Water
- (former) Atherton Shire Council
More information on Mabi Forest from two articles by Tony Irvine for the TREAT Newsletters in October - December 2003 and January - March 2004 Some notes about Mabi Forest