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Aug 18, 2015

Wildlife Coming Home to Restored Lot 46

Cassowary footprint
Cassowary footprint

Great news from the Daintree Rainforest! Further to Rainforest Rescue working hard to ensure Lot 46 Cape Tribulation, Daintree, becomes an certified nature reserve, we are pleased to report that Lot 46 has reached a huge milestone in its restoration – all areas requiring regeneration are now fully planted out with matured seedlings – and we can now leave these 27 hectares to do nature's work, where we will see in 3 years a canopy develop and the restoration work will be done!  

Happily, already Lot 46 is being visited by many Ulysses Butterflies, Daintree birds and even an endangered Southern Cassowary – wildlife is starting to return to the land! With the change of seasons in Far North Queensland, from wet to dry, Joe Reichl, our Daintree Land Manager, reporting in June “…it’s been cold, drizzly and dark, not good for the solar power! The rainforest animals are tucked up out of the cold and trying to keep dry. However the Ulysses butterflies are flying around; they all look very large and perfect.”

More recently however, in July and August, Joe reported to us that he saw fresh Sothern Cassowary scats and a footprint on the tracks at Lot 46!  Joe tells us that there are Southern Cassowary’s wandering around regularly, mostly males with young ones almost old enough to become independent. In fact, there are a lot of flora and fauna about as we move near spring in the Daintree (September), and there are Cairns Birdwing Butterflies now being spotted often and lots of active cassowary sightings! Joe is seeing many Southern Cassowaries when he is out watering now, and they love to use the existing tracks on Lot 46 to walk down – easier than bush bashing!

The wildlife on Lot 46 is now thriving through the work undertaken to preserve and regenerate this land, and this would not be possible without your support – thank you so much!

What comes next?

•    We are planning guided walking tours of Lot 46 during the dry season to demonstrate what can be achieved when rainforest is re- established, protected and properly managed;
•    All  planted areas will be cared for - watered and weeded for two years -  until rainforest canopy cover is naturally achieved;
•    Continuing fundraising to ensure we can create a permanent conservation reserve on Lot 46, creating a Cassowary Conservation Reserve.

Making Lot 46 a Cassowary Conservation Reserve

Located in the heart of the Daintree lowlands, Lot 46 was purchased in 2010 to protect it from further destruction. The property was cleared in the 1960s for cattle grazing and agriculture, and later for growing exotic oil palms. Rubbish and impenetrable weeds had taken over much of the property.

Of the 25 properties that Rainforest Rescue has saved, Lot 46 is the only one not purchased through fundraising. We are working hard to raise the funds to protect the property in perpetuity and turn it into a permanently protected Reserve and change not only its future, but preserve the unique biodiversity of the Daintree. Thank you for helping Rainforest Rescue ensure Lot 46 is protected forever as a ‘Cassowary Conservation Reserve’.

Jul 1, 2015

Lots of sweat plants a rainforest - community tree planting day

Teenage cassowary checking out the planting
Teenage cassowary checking out the planting

Your donations have been restoring endangered southern cassowary habitat in the Daintree National Park in Far Northern Queensland.

Thanks to your support we recently held two tree planting days with volunteers travelling from far and wide to participate in our annual community weekend.

The Saturday event was a very significant day for Rainforest Rescue – we begun planting the final 2000 trees on Lot 46 Cape Tribulation Road. This was the culmination of over five years of hard work and 37,000 trees planted. Our 26 volunteers powered hard and planted 1030 trees. The final thousand are currently being planted by our Daintree crew.

On Sunday 32 adult and four kids planted 1151 trees – this was also at significant location – we were actually planting over an old gravel road dating from the days of the Daintree Blockade (1983-4) that cut through the Daintree National Park and its rainforest. This road was left abandoned to the weeds after a new bitumen road was created on a different route.

Our ambitious goal to plant 3000 trees was unfortunately beaten by the energy-sapping heat and a sun that refused to stay behind the clouds!

Since these trees were planted at the end of May the seedling nurturing rain has not stopped. Approximately one foot of rain has fallen in the Daintree rainforest since the planting. This means the trees are very healthy, with 100% of all seedlings surviving. “They are looking great!” according to the Daintree Land Manager Joe Reichl.

Thank you your generous support means the rainforest garden, the endangered southern cassowary now has more food trees and their wildlife corridors have been extended to connect protected rainforest with each other.

Day 1 : some of the plantings
Day 1 : some of the plantings
Holes were dug in advance to save volunteer backs!
Holes were dug in advance to save volunteer backs!
Cassowary foot print - it visited the night before
Cassowary foot print - it visited the night before
Planting a cassowary food tree
Planting a cassowary food tree
Volunteer wildlife corridor tree planters
Volunteer wildlife corridor tree planters
some of the empties seedling pots!
some of the empties seedling pots!
May 26, 2015

Planting seeds for the future

The most recent planting of 2000 trees
The most recent planting of 2000 trees

The restoration season is in full-swing in the Daintree with the Rainforest Rescue crew busy propagating and caring for rainforest seedlings.

As all trees planted by the Rainforest Rescue crew and volunteers are grown at our nursery, the Nursery Manager must ensure at least 20,000 seedlings are propagated annually. Most will be planted on sites we are restoring and a small quantity will be sold to local land holders restoring their own Daintree rainforest properties.

“Seeds are collected in the later part of the year when trees are fruiting; all are from the Daintree lowlands rainforest ensuring local provenance.

“Before restoring each property, we survey it and record the plant variety – helping us plan the appropriate species mix” said Joe Reichl, Land Manager.

 

Nursery success story

At any given time, there are approximately 6000 potted plants within the nursery shade house, and around 4000 in the sun hardening area. Propagation requires the collection of local seeds which are then sorted and catalogued prior to being sown for the germination process.

The nursery has propagated 204 rainforest species. This is definitely a ‘success story’ as not all rainforest seeds germinate easily, and many seeds are available only intermittently.

Our rainforest nursery is brimming with seedlings
Our rainforest nursery is brimming with seedlings
Healthy seedlings will be planted within 2 months
Healthy seedlings will be planted within 2 months
 
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