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A FIVE-week mission to protect World Heritage rainforest near Mossman from Hiptage saw new innovative and efficient techniques to remove the weed.

Douglas Shire Council’s weed management team worked with MPDT Tree Specialists to complete Stage 3 of the Hiptage Eradication Project at Tara Hills, south-west of Mossman.

A mechanical mulcher and whipper snippers fixed with saw blades were some of the new tools used to remove the invasive weed species.

Council’s Team Leader Biosecurity Bradley Everett said the new techniques helped crews churn through impenetrable sections of hiptage.

“There’s no way we would have been able to achieve what we did using chainsaws and secateurs,” he said.

“It was really quite innovative and now our Council team will re-treat many areas to ensure the weed is gone and revegetate large hiptage sites with a native species.

“During the five weeks, our crews and contractors removed thousands of hiptage vines and carpets of seedlings which will go a long way to protecting the native vegetation in the area.”

Chainsaws and secateurs were used in targeted areas to ensure this no native tree species were damaged.

Council received $180,000 over four years through Terrain NRM to eradicate hiptage from rainforest around the Mossman River catchment.

Hiptage smothers native vegetation and forms impenetrable thickets along banks of creeks and rivers in coastal areas as well as invading rainforests and seasonally dry, lowland closed forest. About 3,000 plant species from over 210 families are found in Wet Tropics region.

Terrain NRM is working with local councils and the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils on a four-year project to improve 1000 hectares of native vegetation through assisted regeneration, planting trees, weed control and fire management.

The $641,000 project, funded by the Queensland Government’s Natural Resources Investment Program, has begun at sites in the Daintree, on the Cassowary Coast and the Atherton Tablelands.

Terrain NRM’s Chelsy Maloney said the aim was to improve the resilience of big patches of native vegetation in the Wet Tropics region.

“This project has brought councils together from across the region to decide on priority areas where they can make measurable improvements and the hiptage project is a great example of this,” she said.

Click here to view the 2019-20 Natural Assets and Animal Management Report Card. 

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