Queensland Parks and Wildlife recently engaged the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation to conduct a leaf-stripping project on K’gari (Fraser Island). Teams of three Butchulla community rangers, with the assistance of a Bunya Ranger, travelled to K’gari and received training in the identification of Jamella leafhopper, leafhopper egg rafts and leaf stripping methods. Following a three-hour training session, Butchulla rangers led the leaf-stripping project in areas where Pandanus was identified as suffering the dieback effects of Jamella. Rangers worked in the worst affected areas, removing all easily accessible dead leaf matter from trunks and branches of Pandanus growing between Eurong and Cathedral Beach. Further dieback of Pandanus in the areas where this work has been completed is now expected to be significantly reduced.
In total 663 Pandanus trees were stripped of dead and infected leaves by the team, covering 31.5 kilometres of fore dunes from Eurong to Cathedral Beach.
QPWS hopes to engage Butchulla Community Rangers for future work in all areas of Pandanus management so that they can continue to assist in Caring for Country, and further contribute to reducing the ongoing effects of Pandanus dieback.
Note: Leaf stripping requires a hands-on approach, and involves the removal of the lower (older) leaves occurring in on each growth head, until all damaged and necrotic leaves are removed. The number of leaves removed will differ depending on the stage of dieback, relative leafhopper infestation levels, and time since dieback began. It can only effectively be performed on plants containing a trunk.
Contributed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service