Tucked into the hinterland of Queensland's bustling Gold Coast lies Currumbin Valley Reserve, a tiny patch of regenerating rainforest protected from the nearby frenzy of development.
View through vine forest canopy at Currumbin Valley Reserve. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix.
Long before human intervention reshaped this area, Currumbin Valley was part of the extensive rainforests of south-east Queensland.
Now, together with the adjacent Nicoll Scrub National Park, it protects a rare remnant of forest cover.
It also plays an important role as a conservation buffer for the national park, which is known habitat for the vulnerable Richmond birdwing butterfly, and shows evidence of long-nosed bandicoots, green catbirds, scrub turkeys and a number of honeyeater species.
And for all this we have a local beekeeper and flower grower to thank.
Dr Alex Griffiths, who passed away in July 1998, bequeathed Currumbin Valley Reserve to Bush Heritage as part of his environmental legacy. Dr Griffiths is fondly remembered for his unwavering devotion to nature conservation.
What this reserve protects
Smooth-shelled macadamia – a nationally vulnerable species. Photo: Tau'olunga
Rainbow bee-eater. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix
Although there is evidence of past logging in Currumbin Reserve, it still harbours some notable rare plants, such as the nationally endangered sweet myrtle and several nationally vulnerable species of macadamia.
Currumbin Valley Reserve also protects these significant species:
- Smooth-shelled macadamia (naturally vulnerable)
- Rough-shelled macadamia (nationally vulnerable)
- Black walnut
- Fine-leaved tuckeroo
- Smooth scrub turpentine
Limited fauna surveys have been carried out on Currumbin Valley Reserve, but it's likely to contain species similar to the adjoining Nicoll Scrub National Park, including the Richmond birdwing butterfly, long-nosed bandicoots, and green catbirds.
What we’re doing on the property
Staghorns in the forest at Currumbin Valley Reserve. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix.
The large number of invasive weeds found at Currumbin Valley Reserve is testament to the amount of human disturbance in the area.
Of the 71 weed species found on the property, those of most concern are dense infestations of lantana and smothering weeds such as perennial soybean – a native African plant introduced into Australia as cattle fodder.
Camphor laurels, which can colonise and dominate regenerating and open forest, are also a major concern.
On the steep slopes of Currumbin Valley Reserve, we have had to remove weeds with great sensitivity and care to prevent further erosion.
The good news is that following our past efforts to remove weeds, the recovering and mature rainforest is effectively shading them out.
Impressions of Currumbin
Stoney Creek frog – a ground-dwelling tree-frog. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix
When wildlife photographer Wayne Lawler spent a couple of weeks working at Currumbin, he was mesmerised by its hidden treasures.
'The Currumbin access road leads to a high ridge-top overlooking the valley, where you find a small ordered garden with lawns, some rare native shrubs and terraced rockeries. Hardly a nature reserve,' he says.
'But plunge into the subtropical rainforest on the steep slopes below and you find an incredible diversity of life crammed into the secret green worlds within.'
During his time at Currumbin Wayne was struck by how much life it packs in.
'Currumbin is only about four hectares, yet it has such a concentration of biodiversity that size is no measure of its conservation value.'
'Lower down you encounter a band of tall brush box forest, then proper subtropical rainforest, before you reach the leafy creek flat at the foot of the slope complete with a piccabeen palm grove.'
'The highlights of my visit were the many wildlife encounters, including my daytime sighting of a magnificent all-black mountain possum with young, nestled in the cleft of an old rainforest tree deep in the reserve.'
This reserve contains cultural heritage materials of interest to Aboriginal people. In the future, we will carry out a cultural values assessment to better understand the significance of this reserve.