Commissioner Visits Mabi Forest

Elaine Seager
September 30, 2015

gregory andrews curtain fig tree

Gregory Andrews at Yungaburra's Curtain Fig Tree

Gregory Andrews has learnt about projects being undertaken to help restore Mabi forest in the Atherton Tablelands

Gregory Andrews, the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner, has visited Green Army participants working in the Atherton Tablelands to help restore endangered Mabi Forest.  

Hosted by Terrain NRM, the Commissioner visited several Mabi Forest restoration sites where Green Army participants are planting new trees and destroying invasive weeds. One of the sites includes a remnant site on Thomas Road, Yungaburra, where Turbina and invasive weed is blanketing the canopy. The impact from weeds is significant in this forest type, mainly due to the small size and fragmented state of the remnant sites.

Mabi Forest is one of Australia’s most threatened ecological communities, which supports a host of other species including the Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo. Only four per cent of the original forest still exists.

The Green Army is an initiative by the Australian Government that pays 17-24 year olds to work on environmental projects. It provides young people with valuable work experience and skills while achieving practical outcomes for environment and heritage conservation projects.

Terrain has been organising the Green Army of nine participants to deliver work across six community groups involved in Mabi restoration. 

Carole Sweatman, Terrain’s CEO, admitted that there has been some initial scepticism amongst community groups about the capacity for Green Army participants to successfully undertake environmental work but that the great outcomes achieved by the participants had proven that it could be an effective approach.

Green Army supervisor Gemma Hawes, from Conservation Volunteers Australia, said these young participants had no idea that the forest needed so much management and were completely unaware of its fragile state.

“I strongly believe that education of the community is part of the solution and I'm glad this project has given nine young people the knowledge and skills to continue protection efforts. It also has the added benefit of giving them the confidence to go out and get themselves jobs.”