Transforming the Mountain

To return iconic Mount Etna Caves National Park in Central Queensland to its pre-mining grandeur, Greening Australia is working to restore the parks endangered dry rainforest.

Limestone mining between 1925 until early 1970 resulted in significant long-term impacts to the environment.

Through funding from the Australian Government’s 20 Million Trees Programme, over 7000 semi-evergreen vine thicket trees and vines, an Endangered Ecological Community, are being established in disturbed sections of the national park.

The diverse dry rainforest features large trees such as Burdekin Plum (Pleiogynium timorense) and Rusty Fig (Ficus rubiginosa), smaller trees and shrubs including the Native Murraya (Murraya ovatifoliolata) and Coffee Bush (Breynia oblongifolia), and vines such as Jasmine (Jasminum simplicifolium) and the Native Grape (Cissus oblonga).

The majority of plants for the project have been grown from seeds collected throughout Mount Etna Caves National Park whose limestone caves form the roosting sites of more than 80% of Australia’s little bent-wing bat breeding population.

When mature, the plants they will form a dense, fire-proof ecosystem, providing food and habitat for five species of bat including the little bent-wing, brush-tailed rock-wallabies, bandicoots, numerous birds and other native animals.

Greening Australia’s Senior Project Officer Bethlea Bell acknowledges that community support has formed a key component.

“Work began at the site early last year and the success of the project is due to collaborations with the Fitzroy Basin Association, Multicultural Development Australia, and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, along with the support of a wonderful band of volunteers.  We have several locals who volunteer regularly to plant trees and maintain the site, along with trainees, home schoolers and scouting groups from as far away as Biloela. We plan to complete the plantings over the next few months.

When we began work at the site there was very little native semi-evergreen vine thicket at all which provides critical habitat for many unique native species.  Most of the area was overgrown with woody weeds and thick, extensive patches of exotic grasses. We have gradually been clearing the weeds and restoring the landscape to its former glory.”

To find out more about the project or to volunteer please contact Bethlea Bell on (07) 4999 2835 or email .