Coocumbac Island Nature Reserve
Much of Australia's lowland sub tropical rainforest was cleared for housing and agriculture, leaving only small patches remaining, such as at Coocumbac Island. The soils are derived from the Manning River. These alluvial soils are enriched from basaltic deposits upstream at Barrington Tops and the Comboyne and Bulga Plateaux. The average annual rainfall is 1176 mm at nearby Taree.
The most obvious mammal species on the island is the Grey-headed Flying Fox, whose numbers may reach five thousand at certain times of the year. Noteworthy birds occurring here include the Osprey and Wompoo Fruit-dove.
The ecological community on the island is known as the large fig - giant stinger tree association. The genus ficus is well represented, with all the strangler figs of this latitude present. Particularly prominent are the large Moreton Bay Figs. Other figs are Deciduous Fig, Strangler Fig, Small leaf fig and Watery Fig. The meaning of the name of the town Taree, is another of the local figs, Sandpaper Fig.
Other tree species include Stinging Tree and the Native Olive. The Native Elm grows on the island, here at its southernmost point of natural distribution. A large Native Hackberry occurs on the island, 30 metres tall and with a trunk diameter of 1.2 metres. Less common trees include White Walnut and the Australian Rose Mahogany.
Rainforest regeneration programs have been put in place to encourage local rainforest species and suppress the problem of invasive weeds.
Coocumbac means "meeting place" in the local indigenous Biripi language. Aboriginal Australians regularly visited the rainforest for the collection of food, medicinal purposes, the collection of fibres for making bags and nets and social gatherings. The rainforest has spiritual significance to local Aboriginal Australians.
- A.G. Floyd Australian Rainforests of New South Wales volume 2, ISBN 0-949324-32-9 page 18
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