Brooklyn Sanctuary - Conservation Programs
Controlling weeds (rubber vine) with fire
The topographic and climatic variation within Brooklyn supports a rich diversity of ecosystems.
In total, the property supports a minimum of 71 ecosystems including 40 threatened ecosystems.
The ecosystems found on Brooklyn include several rainforest types: tall wet sclerophyll forests; white mahogany and lemon-scented gum woodlands; a gallery forest of giant melaleucas along the Mitchell River; mixed eucalypt woodlands; and lakes on alluvial plains.
In terms of overall plant diversity, the eastern end of Brooklyn captures part of one of the most biodiverse areas of the Wet Tropics Bioregion, which in turn is one of the richest regions in Australia.
While most of the property has not been subject to any botanical survey, it is expected to support a large number of rare and threatened plant species.
Features of Significance
Of immense biogeographic interest, Brooklyn contains one of only two populations of the Bunya Pine in north Queensland. Outside of these isolated populations, the nearest occurrence of this spectacular tree is more than 2,000 km away in southern Queensland.
The Bunya Pine ecosystem found on Brooklyn must be considered one of the rarest and most threatened ecosystems in Queensland. It represents all that remains of extensive forests found in the Wet Tropics region about 40,000 years ago. These forests were modified by climate change, leaving Bunya Pines and other rainforest gymnosperms confined to relict patches. The Bunya Pine community on Brooklyn is therefore of particular significance to the study of the impacts of climate change on our flora.
Brooklyn contains around 50 km of the upper reaches of the Mitchell River. The Mitchell River runs west to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The River is flanked by a threatened ecological community dominated by melaleucas. An assessment of the upper Mitchell River conducted by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources concluded that its conservation value was ‘very good’. The assessment considered factors such as the condition of aquatic vegetation and riparian habitat.
Climate change refugia
Recent evidence, including from scientists at the Rainforest Co-operative Research Centre based in Cairns, suggests that the tropical forests of north Queensland are highly sensitive to climate change. Highland rainforests and their fauna are particularly vulnerable – an increase of only one degree (celsius) is predicted to decrease the area of some habitats by 50%. It is critically important that properties such as Brooklyn, which potentially includes areas that will act as greenhouse refugia for highland species, are protected and managed effectively for conservation.