At Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat we regard the protection of our unique ecosystem as an important environmental opportunity – hence our ongoing investment in to restoring the site to its natural flora and fauna for future generations of Australians and overseas visitors alike.
On the Retreat is an area of land degraded by agricultural activity prior to 1967 and then left to the weeds with Lantana being dominant and largely excluding other small plants and ground covers. The Lantana was carefully removed leaving he existing trees and plants; this we have enhanced by planting over 1,000 native rainforest trees endemic to this area, including some threatened species that thrive on this property.
So that all significant flora and fauna was identified and protected, an expert report was commissioned from James Warren and Associates before we started clearing the sites. Below is the essence of their report.
Five vegetation communities were identified on the site:
Community 1 – Scattered Trees (Acacia melanoxylon)
|Location and area||This community occurs in the centre of the Mountain site [where the new Luxury Lodges are now]. Community 1 covers an area of approximately 1.7 hectares.|
|Description||This community has been highly disturbed. The area has been used, in the past, to grow bananas and then left to the weeds for about forty years – to be covered in thick Lantana.
The isolated trees are predominantly Blackwood wattle (Acacia melanoxylon), with scattered occurrences of Red carabeen (Geissois benthamii), Macaranga (Macaranga tanarius) and Red cedar (Toona ciliata). The ground cover is comprised predominantly of bare ground as a result of recent large scale Lantana removal.
|Significant species||No significant species were recorded in this community but we did discover two huge Red Cedar trees which was a real bonus.|
|Conservation status||This vegetation community is not considered to be analogous with any of the Forest Ecosystems described by the Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA). The conservation status of this community is considered to be low due to the level of disturbance in the past.|
Community 2 – Tall wet sclerophyll Forest (Lophostemon confertus)
|Location and area||Areas of closed forest dominated by Brush box (Lophostemon confertus) occur throughout the site. The most significant areas occur in the south of the Mountain site and on the south-eastern portion of the Orchard site.|
|Description||This community consists of a Brush box/rainforest canopy with the emergent Flooded gum (Eucalyptus grandis), the midstorey consists of Red carabeen, White bolly gum (Neolitsea dealbata) and Guioa (Guioa semiglauca). The ground cover is comprised of Bracken fern (Pteridium esculentum), Lantana, Basket-grass (Oplismenus aemulus) and Mistflower (Ageratina riparia).|
|Significant species||Two ROTAP species were also located within this vegetation community - Blunt wistaria (Milletia australis) and Long-leaved tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis newmanii).|
|Location and area||Areas of closed forest dominated by rainforest species occur throughout the site. The most significant areas occur in the north of the mountain site and on the north western portion of the orchard site.|
|Description||The canopy of this community consists of a mixture of rainforest species. Red carabeen is dominant, with Bangalow palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana), Macaranga, Native tamarind (Diploglottis cunninghamii), Guioa and Foam bark (Jagera pseudorhus) also occurring.
Smaller trees and shrubs that comprise the mid-story include Green bolly gum (Neolitsea australiensis), White Bolly gum, Scrub turpentine (Rhodamnia rubescens), Common lilly pilly (Syzygium smithii), Coffee bush (Breynia oblongifolia), Red kamala (Mallotus philippensis) and Rose myrtle (Archirhodomyrtus beckleri).
The groundcover layer includes areas of Lantana, Bracken fern and Mist weed, with regenerating rainforest species. Common climbers include Burney vine (Trophis scandens), Snake vine (Stephania japonica), Climbing guinea flower (Hibbertia scandens), and White passionflower (Passiflora subpeltata).
|Significant species||One (1) threatened species, Green-leaved rose walnut (Endiandra muelleri ssp. bracteata) was recorded within this community. This species is also listed as being significant (Sheringham & Westaway). Two (2) stems of the Green leaved rose walnut (Endiandra muelleri ssp bracteata) were found, one of the stems has a height of 2.5 metres.
Three (3) ROTAP species were also located within this vegetation community - Blunt wistaria (Milletia australis), Smooth scrub turpentine (Rhodamnia maideniana) and Long-leaved tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis newmanii).
Community 4 – Fruit orchard
|Location and area||The fruit orchard covers an area of approximately 0.9 hectares and is located approximately 400m to the south-east of the main office. The site has a north-easterly aspect.|
|Description||This community is comprised of grass and various fruit trees including mango, blueberry and lemon, other citrus and avocados.|
|Significant species||There are no threatened or ROTAP species that occur within this community. No significant species were identified.|
|Conservation status||This vegetation community is not considered to be analogous with any of the Forest Ecosystems described by the Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA). The Tweed Vegetation Management Strategy (TVMS) (Kingston, Turnbull & Hall – 2004) classifies this vegetation type as an exotic plantation.
The conservation status of this community is considered to be low.
A search of the NPWS database revealed 26 threatened flora species within 10km of the subject site. Whilst not many of these threatened species were found in the immediate new development site due to the past agricultural disturbance, some of these are common on other parts of the property. We actively propagate and source local varieties of these threatened trees and plant them out in our reafforestation programs. These species are:
Common name Botanical name