Caring for flora and fauna

The species of Flora & Fauna on our continent have been shaped over thousands of years by the Traditional owners creating a unique, diverse and interesting variety of species, many found nowhere else.

Traditional owners understanding of weather, seasons, fire management, farming, treading lightly on the earth, sharing resources, listening to the sounds of nature, and the way they see the landscape, the rocks and fungi, the shape of a tree, the cry of a bird is all significant we can learn a lot through thoughtful engagement and by offering more respect to the people and their rich culture and lore.

Many Traditional bush medicine and tucker plants are threatened or endangered along with ecosystems or plant species which particular native wildlife rely on for food or habitat.

With our Guardians revegetation projects, we focus strongly on working with Traditional Owners and Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers to ensure that species planted are endemic to that area and significant to Indigenous people’s knowledge of restoring the landscape back to good health and create healthier cultural and social relationships into the future.

Many are noticing the decline. The loss and degradation of native plant species, the changing seasons, the number of plants, and variety of important flowering and fruiting plants, and the subsequent loss of insects, butterflies, birds, bats, reptiles, and mammal species for their important role in pollination.

Invasion of escaped introduced garden plants into the Wet Tropics, is recognised as a problem. One of the management solutions is stopping it at its source. Through education we encourage the community away from planting introduced exotic plant species and show the amazing variety of beautiful landscaping ideas using endemic native species that will reduce your need for watering, mowing, or weeding. By enriching your backyard with a native habitat, you create your own Eden for visiting birds and butterflies, including a pond is also ideal for birds, dragonflies, and frogs.

Never release aquarium plants, fish, crays, snails etc into natural waterways as they spread disease and introduce pest invasive species into these waterways. Introduced species can out compete threatened or endangered native aquatic plants, amphibians, fresh-water fish, and crayfish species. By connecting community, with Traditional Owners, scientists, researchers, and our partners to develop localised citizen science or water monitoring projects together we plan to reduce this decline. If you are interested in developing a model in your neighborhood, please contact us.

One introduced invasive species, the cane toad, has caused devastating impacts now stretching across most of Australia. First released in Far North Qld the impacts are felt on many freshwater fish and aquatic species, including the entire life cycle of endangered frogs, reptiles, mammals, and has proved devastating for the threatened spotted tailed quoll populations. The impacts are through lethal toxic ingestion and or competition for resources. We can all do our part to humanely remove any cane toad that wanders through our patch.

As Guardians the use of chemicals is something we aim to avoid. Herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are damaging the fragile sensitive eco system. Frogs are particularly susceptible to poisons in the environment. Threaten Species Management Plans have been developed to protect the magnificent Broodfrog, stream dwelling rainforest frogs of the Wet Tropics including the Sharp-Snouted day frog, Northern Tinker frog, Armoured Mistfrog, Waterfall frog, Mountain Mistfrog, Common Mistfrog and Australian Lacelid. The infection of amphibians with Chytrid fungus resulting in Chytridiomycosis a lethal fungal disease, is believed to be spreading across the landscape by domesticated dogs swimming in water ways.

We are working with experts to compile a list of alternative options for domestic use. There are many groups involved including Local Councils, Terrain Natural Resources, Landcare, and other partners that are working with farmers on reducing the use of fertilizers and chemicals, and through grant funding are planting along riparian corridors to reduce soil and chemical run off to the reef.