News

Visiting Chinese World Heritage Sites

China has many more World Heritage sites than does Australia. Most, like the Forbidden City, Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, are cultural sites. However, it also has a number of outstanding natural World Heritage sites. With a population exceeding a billion people, who are rapidly gaining greater affluence and the means to travel more widely, there is huge pressure on these World Heritage sites and many lessons that K’gari can benefit from in how this tidal wave of visitation is being handled.  (more…)

Monitoring K’gari’s Weather

WeatherStation

Dr Alex Zangeri with his newly installed Eurong weather station

FIDO has just installed a second online weather station on K’gari at Eurong as part of an ongoing FIDO program to capture weather data from a broader area to assist in environmental monitoring.  Through FIDO’s website, anyone in the world with access to the internet can see the temperature, barometric pressure, wind direction and rainfall at both Happy Valley and Eurong in real time and for the previous 14 days.  FIDO also feeds the data to Weather Underground and the Bureau of Meteorology, where it can also be seen.  They also add FIDO’s weather station input to their permanent storage.

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Queensland Government’s Draft Protected Area Strategy

ProtectedAreasQueensland’s terrestrial protected areas, including national parks and nature refuges, are world-renowned for their diversity, unique flora and fauna, and breathtaking scenery. They are the cornerstone of Queensland’s nature conservation programs; protecting our state’s rich biological diversity. This protection is increasingly important in the face of a changing climate. (more…)

The Persistence of Abrus

One of FIDO’s many inspiring volunteers has been Peter Dorney, a nurseryman from Boreen Point.  Pete was appalled by the extent and aggressiveness of the rampant Abrus he encountered during a Happy Valley working bee in March 2016.  He wondered how persistent the seed might be because this is critical to how long the vigilant treatment of Abrus needs to be maintained once no more seeds are set.  (more…)

Mibir (turtle) nesting and hatching on K’gari

Marine turtle season is coming to an end. The adult courting males and nesting females have returned to their home areas from hundreds of kilometres abroad, and hatchlings are emerging from their underground incubation period to embark on their life journey. Only 1 in 1000 make it to maturity, around 35–50 years old.

North Fraser Island (K’gari) has a small turtle rookery with a seasonal night driving curfew, where green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) court and breed, and females deposit their precious cargo of eggs into the dunes before leaving the young to their fate. These eggs (over 70%) also provide seasonal food resources for wildlife, including dingoes.  (more…)

The First K’gari BioBlitz

From 28 November to 4 December 2016, a multidisciplinary team of experienced scientists and enthusiastic amateurs based at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s (USC) Dilli Village Research and Education Centre carried out the first of what are hoped to be regular BioBlitzes to better document the wide range of both plant and animal species on Fraser Island (K’gari).

The BioBlitzes are a kind of ‘natural stocktake’ to develop an inventory of every living thing on K’gari.  They are extremely important on K’gari, because biological values are one of the three natural values for which the island has been inscribed on the World Heritage list.  Criteria (vii) recognises K’gari’s outstanding aesthetic values.  Criteria (viii) recognises the ongoing geological processes which are currently being studied over three years by a team from the University of Queensland.  Criteria (ix) recognises that the island ‘represents an outstanding example of significant ongoing biological processes. These processes, acting on a sand medium, include biological adaptation (such as unusual rainforest succession), and biological evolution (such as the development of rare and biogeographically significant species of plants and animals).   Vegetation associations and succession represented on Fraser Island display an unusual level of complexity, with major changes in floristic and structural composition occurring over very short distances.’  It is this criteria that the BioBlitz was addressing.

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Fraser Island Pandanus Rescue

Joel Fostin has launched Fraser Island’s first ever crowd-sourcing campaign. Can you help?

Fraser Island (K’Gari) has suffered catastrophic losses. Up to 50% of the east coast’s Pandanus have perished (approximately 50,000 plants).  A further 20% are likely perish without intervention within the next two months. Preserving the remaining Pandanus is crucial for successful natural regeneration, and vital for the many species of wildlife that rely on them for food and habitat.  The Pandanus on Fraser Island (K’Gari) need help right now.   (more…)

Round Island Weeding Update

Round Island is managed by Fraser Coast Regional Council.  Because of the island’s close proximity to the mainland, it is frequently visited by both locals and tourists.

Two trips (26 July & 23 September 2016) have been made to Round Island this year, the first by two council officers, twelve Lower Mary River Landcare (LMRL) members and community volunteers and a group of twelve from Conservation Volunteers Australia. The second trip included council officers and volunteers with chemical spray certificates (AC/DC) as the trip targeted weeds that required chemical treatment.

These one-day weeding efforts, conducted over the last 4 years, have resulted in a highly significant benefit to this very small, coral sand island of dunal system environment. With the assistance of Juliet Musgrave, her skills and knowledge, the identification of some of the native plants (e.g. Octopus Bush) on Round Island demonstrates that this area is the overlap of vegetation zones on the coast between sub-tropical and tropical. To date, more than 30 native plants have been identified and registered, and the list grows each visit the group makes. (more…)

Happy Valley Weeding Update

This trip the focus was again on the invasive weed Abrus precatorius subspecies Africanus (Common name – crab’s eye). The control program began in March 2014, with four trips a year since then. The population was extensively established on the Northern, Western and Southern sides of the village, as well as throughout the village area. It has not been detected East of the village. The plant is a creeper/climber, and in many areas, had occupied up to 70% to 80% ground cover and extended into the canopies of trees. It seeds in all areas where it grows, and profusely when it gets high levels of sunlight exposure, such as on the dingo fence and especially where it extends into the canopy of trees.

After trialling physical removal, including attempts to dig the roots out, and cut and paste with roundup, it became very clear these methods were ineffective and, given the extent of the infestation, were completely impractical. Foliage spray was trialled with glyphosphate and starane. Both chemicals resulted in good knock down of foliage, but with starane, plants regrew from the roots. Glyphosphate (1.5% Roundup) applied with a wetting agent and a dye is the mix we now use. It is extremely effective. (more…)

In Search of the Elusive Ground Parrot

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers on K’gari (Fraser Island) recently deployed five Bio-acoustic remote listening posts purchased by FIDO (Fraser Island Defenders organisation) in swamp/heath areas across the island. These devices allow for scheduled activation times, making surveys for species with distinct calls, such as frogs and birds, easier.

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Sound recorder listening for the elusive Ground Parrot (photo Linda Behrendorff)

One of the current objectives for these devices is to assess the presence/absence of the elusive Ground Parrot (Pezoporus wallicus), endemic to Australia, with the eastern subspecies found in coastal southeastern and eastern Australia (Higgins 1999). In this localised area of Queensland, the vulnerably listed parrot is restricted to the southeast coastal regions of Cooloola, Fraser Island and some adjoining mainland habitat near Maryborough. It occurs mostly in coastal heathland or sedgeland with thick dense cover making it a very difficult species to observe in the field. These highly sensitive recorders produce excellent sound quality enabling detection of species without spending days in the field or risking disturbance to the sensitive areas and fauna. Not to mention reducing the observers time in mozzie and sand-fly infested areas.

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