The Paluma IBA encompasses the southern-most portion of tropical rainforest that makes up north Queensland's Wet Tropics rainforest. The boundary of the IBA coincides with the Wet Tropics World Heritage boundary. Additional adjacent areas of forest could be included in the IBA but the World Heritage Area adequately protects populations of the key species, especially the high-altitude species. Geologically the area is dominated by granites and metamophics, and these form ranges, high hills and mountain tops. Covering this geography is mainly rainforest vegetation with wet sclerophyll also present in some places. Historically, much of the area has been selectively logged, however the impact of this logging has been relatively minor with the ecological integrity of the area largely intact. As a high-altitude block, with most of the area above 800m and significant areas above 900m, it supports all but one of the high altitude rainforest species that are endemic to the Wet Tropics, and could be an important climate change refuge.
Other species recorded in the IBA include the near threatened Bush Stone-curlew and the biome-restricted White-gaped Honeyeater, Yellow Honeyeater and White-browed Robin (Atlas of Australian Birds database).
Non-bird biodiversity: As with the birds the Paluma Range is the southern outlier for a number of endemic fauna species including the legless lizard Coeranoscincus frontalis, Boyds forest dragon, the rainforest skink Saproscincus tetradactylus, green ringtail possum and the endangered frog Litoria nannotis.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Assessment of impacts, monitoring and management of weeds and ferals should be a high priority for land managers. Maintenance of the ecological integrity of high altitude forests through appropriate management of public access, weeds and feral animals is particularly important.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The proximity of this area to James Cook University in Townsville has meant that numerous research projects are or have been conducted in this area. The area has also been an important locality for research on rainforest ecology and management, including work on the impact of climate change on endemic verterbrates, frugivory and seed dispersal, the impact of chytrid fungus on endangered frogs, and biogeography of frogs and reptiles, amongst many others. The comprehensive mapping of regional ecosytems in the area is completed and is available for researchers and managers.
The IBA overlaps with Paluma Range National Park and contains the small Rollingstone Forest Reserve.
Queensland State Government - administered by Dept. of Forests and QPWS.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Paluma. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 08/07/2020.