4 July 2008

'Mabi' Rainforest & Tropical Atherton Highlands

I've fallen in LOVE !

with Tree Kangaroos (Mabi's) and Double-eyed Fig Parrots

Birds of Paradise and Wompoo Fruit Doves !

these are just some of the amazing Rainforest species I've encountered so far in the 'Mabi' Forests on the Atherton tablelands in Far-north Queensland

Mabi Forest, also known as Complex Notophyll Vine Forest (or Type 5b), once covered most of the Atherton Tablelands, but due to clearing for farming, this unique eco-system has been drastically reduced.

Quite a similar scenario to the wholesale and thoughtless destruction of the 'Big Scrub' on the Alstonville plateau, in northern nsw, where the worlds largest patch of lowland sub-tropical Rainforest once occured.

I remind myself that 'progress' was the paradigm of the day, and our ancestors where doing what was expected by their society. Social conditioning still has a major influence on our current actions today, and though ecological consciousness is infiltrating every aspect of our culture, this contrasts starkly with the illusion of 'infinite' economic growth on a planet with 'finite' resources exploited from delicate eco-systems.

Unfortunately I have none of my own photo's to share as my USB connection ran away ! (apparently I smelt way too much .... we just haven't been 'connecting' lately!). Soon enough we will be re-united, along with my 'Good' Lens (17-55 2.8/f canon) which stopped focusing just before I left Kyogle over 5 weeks ago ~

Much has happened in my little micro-cosm since I last posted, including an epic week-long Winter Solstice gathering just south-west of the Wet-Tropics, where i danced myself silly and and connected with friends, old and new

My campsite included representatives from Japan, Israel, Italy, Spain, Germany, 'Sveden' and maybe a few other far-off destinations.

So after the gathering, myself and some friendls stayed out there helping to saught out the rubbish (for recycling). We ended up living off the 'scraps' for a few days, which included Bio-dyanmic local yoghurt, avocado, honey, tomato, bananas, chocolate

... the list is rediculously long ! how could people throw-away such high quality nutritious food ?

every year, in Australia, we throw away over 4 billion dollars worth of edible food ? and on the other side over ONE BILLION of our brothers and sisters are not meeting their nutritional requirements ?

strange world

after the gathering, nearly everyone was heading to a place called "Davies Creek" to ground on down by the Rainforested creek, yet my feeling was to transition back into the solo travelling rythmn ~

I made for the 'Mabi' Rainforest and put my feelers out for a WWOOFer host, but so far no-one has answered the phone or are full-up with other WWOOFERS ~

so basically for the past week I've been hanging around the Yungaburra-Atherton-Malanda area where some truly beautiful Rainforest communities occur.

Only 2% of the Rainforests on the tablelands remain, which is similar in structure and composition to sub-tropical Rainforest back home, with smaller leaves (Notophyll) than typical 'Tropical' rainforest and less occurance of epiphytes and orchids.

Despite the past degradation, there is still estimated to be around 10, 000 - 20, 000 'Tree Kangaroo's' in the area

After numerous sightings of the 'Lumholtz' Tree-Kangaroo I am in no hurry to reach the Daintree, the people up here are very friendly and the tourism is much less intense than I expected.

One place that is full of wildlife is Lake Eacham, a volcanic freshwater lake surrounded by lush Tropical Rainforest, On one walk around the 3km track, I have spotted many Wompoo Fruit Doves (much smaller than the ones back home) a male Victorias Riflebird (which is a bird of paradise) that even did the little dance for me (maybe he thought I was 'available'). I also saw a Double-eyed Fig Parrot (that was a beautiful moment) and glimpsed a Musky-Rat Kangaroo.

I have realised that if I want to really connect with local Fauna and Flora, I'll have to hang out in the canopy more often~

Just up the road at Curtain Fig National Park, I have had 2 other Tree-Kangaroo sightings (one night and one day), a white-tailed Rat and many many different possums species.

I even rescued a Possum that had it's silly little head stuck in a fence !

On an anthropocentric level, the Yungaburra Markets was a lovely day out, meeting lots of friendly locals and hearing about a talk on Tree Kangaroo conservation in New Guinea (a place I really want to visit someday)

The Talk was last night and it was great to see such a strong conservation community on the tablelands. For despite the intense logging that has occured in the past, you can feel change is in the air up here, along with a bit of cold snap that has just arrived.

To my excited I discovered an organisation known as TREAT (TRees for the Evalyn and Atherton Tablelands) which basically pioneered the planting of 'habitat corridors' (planting trees between two remnant patches of habitat in an effort to link them up).

This group have been around for over 25 years ! and have planted thousands and thousands of trees in the Earth ~

very well organised nursery and so good to get my hands back into the potting mix ~

Every Friday they have a volunteer 'Nursery' day and so today I went down and got to meet many locals who are inolved with Rainforest Conservation, we tubed up together and talked about 'this and that'.

Soon I will put some photo's up on this post, so come back and I'll share some of my amateur photo's of the 'natural world'.

pleas note, the photo's on this post are sourced from the internet.

below is some video of some of the local fauna.

A 'Bird of Paradise'

this is a New Guinea relative of the 'Victorias Riflebird'

A Double-Eyed Fig-Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma)


Anonymous said...

Paul! I'm using this comment spot to say hello... our paths crossed at the tree nursery today, and I've checked out some of your photos- they're pretty spectacular. Here's my email address, shoot me an email if you'd like the link to my photos. Safe travels,

Jen said...

Hello there Paul! Jenny here, in Cuenca, Ecuador...life sounds good for you, as it is for us. Isn't it amazing how visions become reality? I still pinch myself when I wake up and realise that we are actually here - that it's happening right now, and what was once our dream is now our reality. Chris joins me in sending you all our love. xox