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Volume 54

2024

Image credit: Biotropica Australia

pp. 1-5

One criterion for measuring restoration project success is the successful establishment of different microhabitats within the restoration area. An important microhabitat for many species is coarse woody debris (CWD), often one of the last microhabitats to develop naturally. To measure utilisation of restored rainforest habitats by CWD-dependant reptiles, we laid out 24 log piles in a 20 year old restored tropical wildlife corridor, sampling the piles after six and 12 months. Four rainforest-dependant skink species were recorded at multiple sites along with one rainforest-dependant frog and one exotic toad, suggesting restored habitat is suitable for a range of forest-dependent species, in addition to the success of log piles as a CWD analogue.

Nigel I.J. Tucker, Damon Colman and Pete Snodgrass

Using log piles to assess reptile habitat development in Donaghy’s Corridor

Tucker et al 2024
Supplementary

Image credit: J.S. Dobson

pp. 6-10

We report on an observation of a large Yellow-spotted Monitor (Varanus panoptes panoptes, Varanidae) successfully predating upon a venomous Lesser Black Whipsnake (Demansia vestigiata, Elapidae). The medium-sized elapid snake managed to bite the monitor several times before being consumed. The monitor displayed signs of neurotoxic envenoming, including hind limb lethargy, before making a rapid and full recovery. This observation corroborates research findings on varanid resilience to neurotoxic binding and cephalic osteoderms as a defence against venomous prey.

J.S. Dobson, T.N.W. Jackson and M.N. Jacko

An observation of predation by a Yellow-spotted Monitor (Varanus panoptes panoptes) on a venomous Lesser Black Whipsnake (Demansia vestigiata)

Dobson et al 2024
Supplementary

Image credit: David Y. P. Tng

pp. 11-24

An arboretum is a living collection of trees that serve multiple roles in public education and recreation, scientific research, and a means of practising ex-situ conservation of botanical resources. In the mid to late 1980s, local botanists and rangers planted 84 species of native Australian rainforest laurels (Lauraceae) in the Lake Eacham section of Crater Lakes National Park, Queensland, hence establishing the Lake Eacham Laurel Arboretum. In addition, a smaller living collection of native trees from the fig (Moraceae), macadamia (Proteaceae) and myrtle (Myrtaceae) families from the Wet Tropics Bioregion were also planted. The laurels, our focal group in this work, are a biologically, culturally, and economically important group of rainforest trees. As laurels are rather nondescript in appearance and have inconspicuous flowers, public awareness of native laurels is dismal. The collection could serve as a venue for public education and as a scientific resource for this group of trees. Unfortunately, the site has fallen into obscurity over the last decade, and rainforest regrowth has suppressed many of the original plantings. We therefore began the groundwork for rejuvenating the Lake Eacham Laurel Arboretum by resurveying the original plantings of laurels. To this end, we established a grid system over the site and re-identified, tagged, measured, and mapped all surviving Lauraceae. We identified 59 laurel species encompassing seven genera and 164 individual stems, representing a 27.9% reduction from the 84 species planted. Even in their diminished state, these plantings exceed collections in other regional botanical gardens, representing collections from Cape York, the Wet Tropics and the southeast Queensland – northern New South Wales region. The arboretum is of considerable scientific value, and we hope that this study will facilitate management and development of this largely forgotten site and help elevate the site to a significant public recreational and educational space for locals and visitors to the Atherton Tablelands.

David Y.P. Tng, Isabel A. Koerner, Jessie D. Osgard, Samantha J. Surks, Leo J. Sullivan, Ella L. Thompson, Lucas E. Walker, Emily A. Bischoff, Sophia M. Love, Victoria F. Holman, Peter Snodgrass, Julia Hengstler, Gemma Horner, Nigel Tucker and Deborah M. G. Apgaua

Restoring an arboretum of Lauraceae at Lake Eacham, Crater Lakes National Park, Queensland

Tng et al 2024
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