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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

3 October 2002

Commonwealth Government Lends a Hand to Community Efforts to Protect Endangered Rainforest

Local community and conservation groups have welcomed today’s announcement by the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, that Queensland’s Mabi Forest has been added to the national list of critically endangered ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Less than 10 percent, or 1 050 ha, of the original Mabi Forest remains and it only occurs in small isolated patches on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland. The Forest is home to a number of nationally-listed threatened plant and animal species such as the Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat. It also provides nesting and feeding resources for over 100 bird species.

The word Mabi is the local Aboriginal name for the tree-climbing kangaroo which also inhabit the forest.

“Listing the Mabi Forest will help to prevent its further loss and will provide support to community efforts to ensure the long-term survival of the Forest,” Dr Kemp said.

“The local community has joined forces to help conserve Mabi Forest, from school students growing seedlings in their own nursery to assist with revegetation works, to groups such as the Wet Tropics Management Authority and Birds Australia arranging on-ground and survey works in the area.

“Currently, there are ten Mabi Forest sites being rehabilitated across the Atherton Tablelands. In 2001-02, volunteers donated over 7000 hours to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife nursery for Mabi-related activities, which demonstrates the extraordinary commitment of the local community.”

The listing of Mabi Forest is great news for Kerry and Barb Kehoe, who own the Mt Quincan Crater Retreat and who are involved in the conservation of remnant vegetation on private property on the Atherton Tablelands.

“Knowing that the Commonwealth Government is behind us is a great encouragement to us and other voluntary groups involved in revegetation projects,” Mr Kehoe said.

“We're very excited, because the decision to list the Mabi Forest will preserve the habitat of many animals, particularly the Tree Climbing Kangaroo.”

Mabi Forest is characterised by clusters of trees up to 45 metres in height with heavily buttressed trunks, a dense shrub and vine layer and ground ferns. Dr Kemp said the decision to list Mabi Forest reflects the Commonwealth’s recognition of the importance of the Forest and the survival of this type of rainforest ecosystem.

“Approximately 35 per cent of Mabi Forest occurs on freehold land and I am particularly pleased to note that local landholders are making a valuable contribution to the conservation of Mabi Forest. One property recently had a voluntary conservation covenant put in place, to help secure Mabi Forest remnants in perpetuity, while a number of farms are integrating the conservation of this rainforest type with the management of their properties as working farms,” Dr Kemp added.

The Commonwealth has provided $52,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust to assist conservation efforts in the Wet Tropics Bioregion where Mabi Forest is found, including addressing the impact of feral pigs and developing a recovery plan for the Spotted-tail Quoll.

Under the EPBC Act, listed ecological communities are considered to be a matter of National Environmental Significance. The continuing use provisions of the EPBC Act mean that land users will be able to continue with existing land use activities, however any significant new action impacting on the Forest could require approval.

“While this listing will not impose additional obligations on the current actions and practices of land users, it will hopefully increase the profile of the Mabi Forest and give a boost and recognition to the many community-based conservation activities aimed at protecting this important rainforest type,” Dr Kemp said.

“This listing also means that the Commonwealth will contribute by developing a Commonwealth recovery plan to reinforce the work that is already proceeding.”

For more information on Australia’s threatened species and ecological communities contact Environment Australia’s Community Information Unit on freecall 1800 803 772 or visit the website at

To contact a local land holder who is actively involved in the protection of Mabi Rain Forest call Kerry Kehoe on 07 4095 2255.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

We also have higher quality tif versions of the photos below. To save the tif files, right click on the link and select 'Save Link As' (Netscape) or 'Save Target As' (Internet Explorer).

Inside the forest

Inside the forest

Mabi planting

Mabi planting

Forest and boardwalk

Forest and boardwalk

Mabi planting

Mabi planting

Commonwealth of Australia