Councils signed up to tackle rainforest threat

News release | 04-Mar-2019

Mareeba Shire Council has joined four other Far North Queensland councils in a Biosecurity Queensland project to help tackle an invasive plant that poses a real threat to the area’s spectacular rainforest.

National Tropical Weed Eradication Program Leader Mick Jeffery said Council was installing six signs at walking tracks and other public areas to raise awareness of Miconia and the importance of eradicating it.

“Biosecurity Queensland commenced this collaborative project involving five councils and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) in 2018 and already 24 signs have been installed at popular walking tracks and other public areas,” Mr Jeffery said.

“Wet Tropics Management Authority designed the sign which has been used by Mareeba Shire Council, Tablelands Regional Council, Douglas Shire Council, Cairns Regional Council, Cassowary Coast Regional Council and QPWS.

“The signs highlight Miconia’s readily recognisable leaves, which can grow up to one metre long, have three distinct veins that run lengthwise along the leaf and a distinctive purple underside.

“Miconia species are listed as prohibited invasive plants and restricted invasive plants under the Biosecurity Act 2014, and all sightings of Miconia must be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours of being found.”

Mr Jeffery said Biosecurity Queensland was slowly succeeding in eradicating Miconia from Kuranda.

“Biosecurity Queensland manage the eradication program in collaboration with Mareeba Shire Council and QPWS,” Mr Jeffery said.

“Areas are surveyed approximately every 12 months to find and destroy all seedlings before they get to the stage of producing a fresh generation of seed.

“During 2018, field teams surveyed 1042 hectares on foot in the Kuranda district and did not find any mature trees and more than half the known sites had no Miconia seedlings at all.

“In fact, the last mature plant found in the Kuranda district was on January 20, 2016.

“Kuranda locals have been very supportive of the field teams’ work and their continued vigilance is greatly appreciated as it certainly helps the eradication effort.”

Mr Jeffery said Miconia was a fast growing invasive plant that quickly colonised disturbed areas and could rapidly devastate rainforest areas.

“It is vital that the fragile ecosystems of our beautiful rainforests are protected from biosecurity threats such as Miconia,” Mr Jeffery said.

“Miconia is targeted for eradication from Australia in the National Tropical Weeds Eradication Program.

“Far North Queensland residents should check their properties and communities for Miconia and report any sightings to Biosecurity Queensland using the form on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website, daf.qld.gov.au, or by calling 13 25 23.”

Visit business.qld.gov.au/industry/agriculture/species/declared-pests/weeds/miconia for more information about Miconia.

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Media contact: DAF Media, media@daf.qld.gov.au