Deongwar gets bioblitzed

The Deongwar Bioblitz was held on Saturday 28 April, organised by the Save Deongwar State Forest group. Pictures: ROB WILLIAMS

Conservationists are calling on Deongwar State Forest to become a national park as logging comes to an end, with locals gathering at the weekend to conduct citizen science and document the unique plants and animals that call it home.

At the ‘Bioblitz’ event in the forest near Esk on Saturday 27 April, more than 40 participants recorded hundreds of observations of plants and animals they found in the forest using the mobile phone app iNaturalist.

Queensland Conservation Council nature organiser Hayley Troupe said the group found many unique plants in a spotlighting walk on Saturday night.

“We even spotted an endangered greater glider,” she said.

“These amazing animals live solely in the trees, they are the largest gliding possum and their survival depends on protection of habitat like that found here.”

Deongwar State Forest, on the lands of the Dungibara People, contains 4700 hectares of intact, high conservation value, remnant native forest.

It is home to 146 protected native animals including the long-nosed potoroo, powerful owl, black-breasted button-quail, brush-tailed rock wallaby, white-throated needletail, glossy-black cockatoo, red tailed- cockatoo, koala and greater glider.

Traditional Owner Peta May said she was happy the permanent protection of Deongwar could be achieved ‘in my lifetime’.

“The logging of State Forests such as Deongwar for the last 100 years will leave a scar on the landscape forever,” she said.

“However, we now have the chance to move forward and begin the healing process in these protected areas.

“Consultation and facilitation by Traditional Owners will be a crucial aspect of this healing.”

Save Deongwar State Forest coordinator Max Fulham said after a long history of commercial exploitation Deongwar was now poised to be permanently protected.

“Growing this forest back to maturity will enable it to achieve its full potential to provide the ecological resources necessary to secure a future for our large parrots, owls, gliders and koalas,” Mr Fulham said.

“Science tells us that this is the most immediate way to sequester carbon and the only remedy to address the scarcity of large old hollow bearing trees.”