Restoring rainforests to its former glory takes time, heavy lifting and lots of back-bending but the end result is rewarding and incredibly fulfilling said our Daintree Land Manager, Joe Reichl.
In early 2012, gifts from donors enabled us to secure another two special rainforest properties. We were very keen to purchase lots 82 and 83 Rosewood Road Cow Bay as they had council building approval rights and posed the risk of more dwellings being built.
We already owned six properties in this area, so these two additional ones enabled us to extend the Baralba Corridor Nature Refuge - a valuable wildlife corridor that links the Daintree National Park and the World Heritage area.
Flora and fauna surveys verified their high conservation value. The presence of rare plants with limited distribution (like the Rhaphidophora hayi vine), significant sized buttress trees, and limited clearing (at the time we estimated 80% undisturbed rainforest), further increased our desire to protect this rainforest forever.
Once we had secured their purchase, restoring the 20% of disturbed forest did provide some interesting challenges and work for Joe and his team - work that they have just now completed.
For the last two and a half years our team toiled in the heat and the wet to bring the rainforest back.
Joe describes it as “it was like someone took a cookie-cutter and removed a chunk of pristine rainforest from each of the properties”. These chunks were meant to be house blocks (neither of which were ever built) instead a massive stockpile of debris and sheds accumulated and these were eventually overgrown with weeds that were knee-high and covered the old infrastructure.
Our purchases ensured these precious rainforest was not cleared and the properties are now protected forever with no chance of potential development.
There is no rest for Joe and his team of volunteers and part-time staff – they are now back at other properties donors have helped us saved forever - weeding and watering trees they have planted in the last two years and removing younger oil palms.
The purchase and restoration of these two properties would not have been possible without the support of our donors – thank you very much. Your support in adopting rainforest helps Protect Rainforest Forever.
We now have our sights set on another two pieces of land to buy and restore and with your support we will save them!
What we have achieved together:
Canopy cover, number of species, plant density and rate of growth are all key indicators of forest development.
At Lot 46 Cape Tribulation Road in the Daintree area of far north Queensland, Rainforest Rescue is monitoring all those factors and more to measure the success of a large scale rainforest restoration project.
This Cassowary Conservation Reserve is one of 24 properties that Rainforest Rescue has now adopted and protected forever in the Daintree Lowlands Rainforest.
The property was partly cleared in the 1960s, first for cattle grazing and later for Oil Palm cultivation. More recently it had become a dumping ground for rubbish, cars, caravans, boats, and a haven for impenetrable weeds.
In 2012 we secured funding which set the property on its long journey back to rainforest. Monitoring is based on periodic measurement of growth rates of both planted and ‘volunteer or wildling’ trees in areas left for natural regeneration. The property was divided into working zones and seven 50 x 20m monitoring plots were laid out in the different zones.
In addition, twelve permanent photographic points were set up within the working zones and plots to allow consistent recording of rainforest re-development and growth over time.
Results to date have been extremely positive, showing remarkable growth rates and rapid canopy closure – the key to rainforest structure. The monitoring will continue until we reach a point where this restored rainforest rules! By the looks of things, we don’t have long to wait for this to happen…
We will continue to restore this rainforest and others we have purchased thanks to generous donations. Thank you.
By Madeleine Faught, Chair Rainforest RescueCassowary Conservation ReserveCanopy cover, number of species, plant density, and rate of growth are key indicators of forest development.
- See more at: http://www.rainforestrescue.org.au/blog/#sthash.Oz0pd7o4.dpuf
As always, our team in the Daintree has been kept busy as dry weather turned to wet, and then Cyclone Ita hit the coast!
At LOT 46 Cape Tribulation Road nine semi-trailer loads of rubbish, including 13 car bodies, a shed, a tank stand and a 24 foot boat trailer were removed. An additional five tonnes was carted out by hand so as not to disturb the delicate plants. A large concrete slab was broken up and buried three metres underground and another 56 oil palms were poisoned.
Rainforest Rescue’s Daintree Property Manager Joe Reichl says: “Oil palms are very aggressive and their roots can spread 60 metres from the trunk. We have to chainsaw the crown and then they implode creating very little rubbish but providing much-needed mulch.”
At the Baralba Corridor Nature Refuge in Rosewood Road, three sheds and a tank stand were cleared but there are still around 1,000 vehicle tyres waiting to be removed.
Since the 1960s Lot 46 was used successively as a pineapple and banana plantation (access too difficult to get the fruit out), a palm oil plantation (conditions too wet for oil production) and later for cattle grazing, until Rainforest Rescue purchased it in 2010, with support from donors.
Almost 4,300 trees were planted in January and February, which were wet months, bringing our Daintree tally to almost 54,000. The new trees are growing vigorously as are the weeds, which are sprayed as the weather allows. At our Daintree Rainforest Plant Nursery, more than 10,000 plants are flourishing in readiness for our volunteer planting event on 14 and 15 June.
In areas that have been re-planted, invasive weeds must be controlled until the canopy closes over. This generally takes at least two years.
In early April, Tropical Cyclone Ita hit the Far North Queensland coast. Although classed as a category 2 cyclone, winds of up to 200km/hr brought down trees and branches, closing roads and cutting off access. Our team has been using machetes and chainsaws to free the new plantings of fallen debris. Luckily there was no damage to the nursery infrastructure.
As always, we are very grateful to you, our donors, who make it possible to purchase these properties to protect them forever. Restoration at Lot 46 is supported through funding from the Australian Government. Restoration at Rosewood Road is supported a grant from the Queensland Government.
With support from our donors, we have now planted 49,061 trees in the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest region in Northern Queensland, Australia.
Less rain than expected so far this season meant hand-watering the seedlings we planted at Lot 46 Cape Tribulation Road. We dug almost 3,000 planting holes in one week and planted more than 1,300 trees just as rains finally arrived to help the trees get established.
Seed collectionBut the lack of rain also enabled us to collect lots of fruit for seeds and we now have about 20 new species in the nursery. We are growing enough seeds for our forthcoming plantings. Almost as quickly as our nursery team builds new benches and cages for the seedlings, they’re filled with new seedlings, which is great news.
ClearingClearing rubbish and removing invasive weeds is essential. Dealing with rubble, car wrecks, old tyres and the remains of disused buildings is hard work. We removed all the rubbish at Rosewood Road using heavy earth-moving equipment, jack hammers and even an oxy-acetylene torch on a steel-reinforced concrete slab to make way for replanting.
Camera trapsWe have also installed nine camera traps at Lot 46 to capture wildlife as they return to the rainforest. We know from our work with the Orangutan Information Centre in North Sumatra that wildlife does return and we look forward to sharing pictures with you soon.
New vehicleWe recently purchased a four wheel drive vehicle to enable us better to travel in the rough terrain and carry water and tools. We are now in the process of having it branded ‘Rainforest Rescue’ so locals and visitors alike are more aware of our presence and work.Moving forwardWe hope for lots of rain this wet season to establish our new seedlings. We intend to finalise the purchase of Lots 17 & 18 Forest Creek Close, which are adjacent to Lot 16, by April. With your continuing support, this will allow us to create an important wildlife corridor in this area and protect this rainforest forever.
Can you please donate to help us continue our work to buy back and restore rainforests?
Dear Friend & Supporter
Thanks to your wonderful support another rainforest property has been protected in the Daintree bringing the total number saved to 22
Earlier this year we announced our intention to buy back and protect five rainforest properties in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest that we had identified as high-conservation value. Thanks to generous donations from Rainforest Rescue supporters, and of course the wonderful contribution from our GlobalGiving donors, we recently confirmed the purchase of one of these properties at Lot 16 Forest Creek Close.
This property is one of three located on Forest Creek Close that we have targeted in our 'Top 5 Buy Back List'.
The acquisition of this property represented a strategic opportunity for Rainforest Rescue as it is located within close proximity to four other properties that we have already protected in this area; three of which form the Rainforest Rescue Nature Refuge. Its purchase provides habitat connectivity to the surrounding Daintree National Park/World Heritage Area, home to over 122 rare, threatened and endangered species including the Endangered Southern Cassowary and the rare Bennett's Tree-kangaroo.
With the property classified as containing "essential habitat" for the Endangered Southern Cassowary, its conservation value is unquestionable. A flora and fauna survey undertaken on the property identified 128 different plant species including five threatened species: Brass' Pothos (Pothos brassii), Black Palm (Normanbya normanbyi), Kamala (Mallotus polyadenos), Rusty Rhodomyrtus (Rhodomyrtus effusa) and species of Haplostichantus endemic to north-east Queensland.
Thank you so much for your generous support that enabled the purchase of this important rainforest property. Please will you donate again so we can buy back the remaining properties on our 'Top 5 Buy Back List'.
The purchase of Lots 17 & 18 Forest Creek Close which are adjacent to Lot 16 will create an invaluable wildlife corridor in this section of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. Threat of development in this area is high given its idealic location to the Daintree River and the ferry terminal.
With every property that we purchase we are one step closer to ensuring that the unqiue conservation values of the Daintree Rainforest are protected forever. Thank you for everything you do to help Protect Rainforests Forever.
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