Frogs – Weapons of Mass Reconstruction in the Mary River Catchment (10636)
Rainforest riparian vegetation of South East Queensland provides critical habitat for several stream dependent frog species such as the Giant barred frog Mixophyes iteratus. This paper investigates frog survey and long-term monitoring data to discuss the use of this stunning and charismatic frog in engaging landholders to take up improved riparian management practices such as stock and weed control, revegetation and bank stability to improve terrestrial and in-stream habitat and water quality.
Over 30% of frog species worldwide are listed as threatened (IUCN). There are 11 vulnerable or endangered species in South East Queensland two of which have disappeared from the headwaters of the Mary River in the Conondale and Blackall Ranges.
The Giant barred frog is a stream specialist listed under federal and state legislation as endangered. Habitat loss and modification, modified water flows and quality as well as possible effects of disease, are threats effecting the survival of this and other frog species. Despite declines at altitude and in southern parts of its range, the Giant barred frog has maintained a stronghold in the Mary River catchment, particularly the upper reaches south of Gympie. Due to the decline of this and other species during the 1970s and 1980s extensive surveys and the installation of long-term monitoring transects in lowland areas have collected data on local distributions of stream frogs and population dynamics within riparian habitats.
Analysis of data includes fine-scale distribution mapping, quantifying population trends, and a comparison of species richness and abundance between sites with reference to habitat quality. The usefulness of the Giant barred frog as an indicator species is discussed as well as landholder engagement and land management options in the protection and restoration of the critically endangered ecological community utilised by this and other frog species.