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Oct 30, 2017

Upcycling Waste for Conservation

Installing the bollards
Installing the bollards

Even in remote areas such as the Daintree, dumped tyres are an environmental issue. Over 600 old tyres had to be removed from a property along Rosewood Road before any rainforest conservation work could be undertaken. In addition to tyre dumping, illegal vehicle access to rainforest properties has caused significant damage to newly planted trees. Rainforest Rescue has been working with Bridgestone Australia to find one solution to this continuing problem.

In 2010 Rainforest Rescue purchased Lot 46 in the Daintree to rescue the degraded rainforest site. Over 180 tons of debris were removed from the property including dumped tyres. We planted over 40,000 trees to help restore the rainforest habitat to its former glory. Disaster struck in 2016 when some idiots in a Ute illegally drove onto the site and purposefully destroyed an area of newly planted trees. Action was needed to prevent this from reoccurring. 

We looked for a long-lasting solution that would prevent vehicles from entering protected rainforest and destroying seedlings or illegally dumping old tyres and treads in the forest. Re-using rubber from old dumped tyres seemed to be an appropriate material to make vehicle barriers. However, we also wanted to make sure any solution had a low environmental and visual impact. Working with Bridgestone Australia we contacted a number of tyre recycling companies to find a solution. 

After a number of failed designs from different manufacturers, Molectra Technologies came up with a viable solution using vulcanisation of old rubber crumb – importantly not using any chemicals in the recycling/upcycling process. Molectra has manufactured 12 prototype recycled tyre bollards that represents a double win for the environment by stopping vehicle access, protecting one of the oldest rainforests on the planet and providing a new use for old tyres.

"It’s been an interesting process trying to develop a sustainable solution to the problem. Over the past 18 months we’ve learned a lot about reuse and recycling of rubber! Reseach and Development projects always throw out interesting challenges, but with patience and professionality these have been navigated and now we have recycled tyre bollards in the ground protecting trees – result!"         

We’re currently testing the prototype bollards to protect the latest tree planting at the new Cape Kimberley Wildlife Corridor. We’re monitoring the effectiveness of the bollards and will report back on progress. In 2-3 years the trees will be big enough to form their own barrier and we will remove the bollards to use elsewhere – following the ethos of reduce > reuse > recycle to lessen our footprint on the planet.

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This project has been supported through Bridgestone’s Tomorrow Matters initiative, which seeks to find new and better ways of using technology; encourage our children to find solutions for tomorrow; and help ensure a healthy environment for generations to come.

Drone image of the track
Drone image of the track
Joe, Basil and a rainforest seedling
Joe, Basil and a rainforest seedling

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Oct 30, 2017

Digitally Mapping Threatened Areas

Joose Helle, RR International Intern
Joose Helle, RR International Intern

Rainforest Rescue has recently developed an International Research Internship in partnership with the University of Sydney Study Abroad Program which allows international students to work with environmental organisations and undertake bespoke research projects in order to support Rainforest Rescue and its conservation activities. Our current intern is Joose Helle. Joose is undertaking a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) mapping project with Rainforest Rescue as part of his MSc in Geoinformatics at the University of Helsinki.

Joose's research utilises IT, remote sensing and other spatial data to monitor and map conservation activity across the Daintree rainforest, including Rainforest Rescue’s largest restoration success story at Lot 46 at Cape Tribulation.

The mapping exercises are utilising drone flybys to create a digital terrain model which will show the rate of growth of restoration on the site.

Digital mapping and imaging sets a baseline of data and therefore allows for longitudinal studies. It also creates a geospatial framework for embedding geological surveys which can be compared over time.

Past air photography from 1976 shows when Lot 46 and the areas around it were denigrated by cattle grazing. Encouragingly current images show significant changes made by Rainforest Rescue since undertaking restoration efforts in the Daintree. We look forward to being able to give our supporters access to these maps and images through our website.

Other important news is that the University of Adelaide and James Cook University will be collaborating to launch an exciting research project on Lot 46 which will look at impacts of climate change on rainforest tree growth. Watch this space.

As a Guardian of Lot 46, your support is vital for protecting this Living Laboratory!

Oct 24, 2017

Upcycling Waste for Cassowary Conservation

Tyres dumped in the lowland Daintree rainforest
Tyres dumped in the lowland Daintree rainforest

Almost a year ago we told you about a research and development project that aimed to recycle tyre bollards for use in the Daintree. Even in remote areas such as the rainforest, dumped tyres are an environmental issue; especially in prime cassowary corridors.

When Rainforest Rescue purchased Lot 46 in the Daintree to rescue the degraded rainforest site, over 180 tons of debris was removed including dumped tyres. This was a property which represented a sizebale chunk of the unprotected Daintree and hence cassowary habitat - twenty four football fields worth to be exact. We planted over 40,000 trees to help restore the rainforest to its former glory. Disaster then struck in 2016 when drivers in a Ute illegally sped onto the site and purposefully destroyed an area of newly planted trees. Action was needed to prevent this from reoccurring. 

After a number of failed designs from different manufacturers, John Dobozy at Molectra came up with a viable solution using vulcanisation of old rubber crumb – importantly not using any chemicals in the recycling/upcycling process.

The creation of these bollards represent many wins for the environment by stopping vehicle access, protecting trees that we have planted to regenerate the cassowary’s habitat; plus protecting one of the oldest rainforests on the planet and providing a new use for old tyres. This wouldn’t be possible without your support.

"It’s been an interesting process trying to develop a sustainable solution to the problem. Over the past 18 months we’ve learned a lot about reuse and recycling of rubber! Research and Development projects always throw out interesting challenges, but with patience and professionality these have been navigated and now we have recycled tyre bollards in the ground protecting trees and the cassowary’s habitat– result!"  Julian Gray CEO Rainforest Rescue

More good news that our efforts are creating positive change: The Southern Cassowary has moved from Endangered to Vulnerable status, a step closer to a healthy population.

Here is a short video of the Cassowary father and his chicks which we recently just stumbled upon in the lowland Daintree; again proof the corridors are safely being protected.

On behalf of all at Rainforest Rescue, and the endangered Southern Cassowary – Thank You

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This project has been supported through Bridgestone’s Tomorrow Matters initiative, which seeks to find new and better ways of using technology; encourage our children to find solutions for tomorrow; and help ensure a healthy environment for generations to come

The Recycled Tyre Bollards Installed on Lot 32
The Recycled Tyre Bollards Installed on Lot 32
 
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