Rainforest Rescue

Rainforest Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation that has been protecting and restoring rainforests in Australia and internationally since 1998 by providing opportunities for individuals and businesses to Protect Rainforests Forever. Our mission is to inspire, engage and build community for the protection, preservation and restoration of rainforests through fundraising and education. Our objectives are: 1. The protection and enhancement of the natural environment. 2. The conservation of rainforests and the preservation of the biodiversity of rainforest ecosystems. 3. The restoration, rehabilitation, enhancement and management of remnant and regrowth rainforest. 4. The revegetation of ex-...
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
May 26, 2015

Habitat on the mend

Planted in June 2014, now 5 feet tall!
Planted in June 2014, now 5 feet tall!

The restoration of Lot 46 Cape Tribulation Road continued with the removal of the final rubbish from the site, extensive tree planting, and ongoing growth monitoring.

Nine semi-trailer loads of rubbish were removed, including 13 car bodies, a shed, tank stand, a 24-foot boat trailer and rotting caravans. An additional five tonnes had to be carted by hand to not interfere with sensitive regeneration areas.

Restoration of the rainforest continued with an additional 16,235 trees planted in the remaining two now cleared areas. A week’s worth of measuring and monitoring previously planted seedling trees confining the success of our planting designs and restoration methods. The four-year-old plantings are eight metres tall and have already formed a closed canopy, and are producing fruits which are an important source of food for the local native fauna. Leaf litter from the young trees is now blanketing the previously bare ground; assisting the essential process of creating a healthy ecosystem. New ‘volunteer’ seedlings are now sprouting throughout the plantings, adding diversity and complexity to the rainforest.

Different planting designs were used to establish the best methods to restore rainforest on the property, with care taken to protect and enhance natural regeneration.

Since restoration began in 2010, Joe and his team of workers and volunteers have eradicated all of the introduced mature oil palms (known to be an environmental and aggressive weed species), and have made significant inroads towards eradicating the hundreds of oil palm seedlings.

Cassowaries have been sighted on the property on numerous occasions, feeding on the available fruits of the new plantings. They are known to nest at the back of the property where it adjoins the National Park.

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 seedlings planted will be cared for - watered and weeded for two years until they are large enough to care for themselves.
  • The final 2000 trees will shortly be planted on the remaining zone that requires restoration
  • Continuing fundraising to ensure we can create a permenant conservation reserve on Lot 46

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 24 properties that Rainforest Rescue has saved, Lot 46 is the only one not purchased through fundraising. The bank currently holds the title of Lot 46 and until the loan is repaid, we are unable to protect the property in perpetuity.

Rainforest Rescue is currently fundraising to ensure Lot 46 is protected forever and turned into the Cassowary Conservation Reserve.

 
   

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