The invasion of Lantana camara L. in Forty Mile Scrub National Park, north Queensland



Abstract Seventy-three per cent of dry rainforest in Forty Mile Scrub National Park and large areas in adjacent savanna woodland have more than 5000 individuals per ha of lantana (Lantana camara L.). Transect studies in dry rainforest and savanna woodland across varying intensities of lantana infestation show a negative correlation between the density of lantana and tree cover in rainforest. The density of pig rooting is very high in areas of the dry rainforest on deep soil that was not heavily infested with lantana. It is suggested that the digging activities of these animals may cause tree death and subsequent increased light penetration, which favours lantana. The species richness of the dry rainforest declines as the density of lantana increases. However, the saplings and seedlings and the soil seed bank of dry rainforest and savanna woodland tree species have comparable densities in heavy and light lantana infestations. The proliferation of lantana results in the build up of heavy fuel loads across the boundary of dry rainforest and savanna woodland. Recent fires have killed the canopy trees in a large area of dry rainforest within the Park. Active management of Forty Mile Scrub National Park is urgent and some initiatives are suggested.