Poplar Gum Woodland

Ecosystem Description

7.3.16d: Riverine wetland or fringing riverine wetland. Lophostemon suaveolens, Eucalyptus platyphylla, Corymbia tessellaris, Melaleuca viridiflora, M. dealbata woodland and open forest, with Imperata cylindrica and Crinum sp. Swampy drainage lines and swamp fringes in upland situations.

Regional Ecosystem 7.3.61d
Biodiversity status Endangered
Estimated extent Less than 30% of the pre-clearing area remaining
Sheoak Ridge Estimated 5% cover of propery
Location Southern low lying area.

The poplar gum woodland located on the reserve represents a small pocket that is separated  by the riparian rainforest from a larger area that exists in the adjoining National Park.  It is an easy ecosystem to recognise as the dominant tree, the poplar gum (Eucalyptus platyphylla) has a smooth silver white trunk and leaves that are rounder and much larger than typical gum tree leaves.

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Eucalyptus platyphylla at sunset

During the wet season the ground in this area is usually waterlogged and surface water is often visible.  It is also the only location within the reserve where Crinum lilies (Crinum angustifolium) and Pandanus sp. can be found.

Pandanas recovering after a dry-season controlled burn.
Pandanas recovering after a dry-season controlled burn.

Management

Without intervention, this area is quickly invaded by rainforest species.  As this is the only well structured section of poplar gum woodland on the reserve it is intensely managed to ensure its continued existence.  Normal management practices would only use controlled burns to maintain this ecosystem in its current state. As this is only a small area, we use low intensity mosaic burns and to minimize disturbance we remove undesired plants that were not killed by fire, by hand.  The reason for such a gentle approach is due to the small scale and the subsequent risk of loosing species if the entire area was burnt at once and no species recruitment was available.  Management of the poplar gum woodland is usually carried out in conjunction with the management of the adjoining Melaleuca flats as the same methods are used.

The poplar gum woodland is very prone to the invasion of weeds such as Lantana (Lantana camara), knobweed (Hyptis capitata), Praxelis (Praxelis clematidea) and Urena burr (Urena lobata). This is most likely due to the combination of ample available moisture and sunlight in this ecosystem.

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A private nature reserve in North Queensland

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