Adopt Vulnerable Rainforest in Australia

by Rainforest Rescue
Seed propagation in the Native Daintree Nursery
Seed propagation in the Native Daintree Nursery

Today we have an update for you on the trees recently planted at our current restoration site located at Lot 96 in Cape Tribulation, Daintree. You may remember from our last update in August, we passed on the happy news that this important rainforest habitat corridor was now fully planted-out with budding new tree seedlings and that this stage of this restoration project was now complete. This milestone could only have been achieved with your support! Thank you.

Our Daintree Land Manager, Joe Reichl, reports that while October is usually the dry season in the Wet Tropics of Australia, light rains falling throughout the month have surprised many who originally forecast a ‘20% more dry than average month’. While this is great news for the tree seedlings that were planted out, it does also mean that it’s easy for any weeds to bounce back to life too. Weed control on and around restoration sites are an essential activity at this time, as it’s best to halt their spread before they can flower and then seed.

“This rain has been enough to set weeds off, but (not too) badly. We have some of the last month doing weed control and maintenance on the plantings.” Joe says. “In most cases (the rain) was not enough to not need to water trees at the nursery, however we do appreciate what is given.”

At Rainforest Rescue’s Daintree Native Plant Nursery, Joe reports that the tree seedlings maturing in the outdoor ‘hardening area’ did well from the consistent October rains.

“We have spent the last few months doing nursery work and weed control – the usual maintenance factors which we try to get on top of before the planting season begins. This method allows us to start (our next) plantings and not worry about maintenance for at least three months when it is hot.”

As per normal at this time of year when it is usually drier, as a priority for our Daintree Native Nursery operations, we undertake endemic native seed collection. This is because most seeds in this area of the Daintree rainforest are produced from around August to January. This is one of the most important activities for our team in the Daintree, as it helps guarantee the coming years’ season of seedling propagation for our ongoing restoration projects. These seedlings go on to become some of the more than 20,000 seedlings propagated annually at Rainforest Rescue’s Native Daintree Nursery!

Again, from all the team at Rainforest Rescue, we send our sincere thanks to you today for your ongoing care and concern – we can only carry out this vital work with your continued support. By adopting rainforest in the Daintree, you are helping to protect this very special, vulnerable area of tropical rainforest forever. Thank you!

Maturing seedlings at Lot 96 Cape Tribulation
Maturing seedlings at Lot 96 Cape Tribulation
Work at a restoration site, Daintree October 2015
Work at a restoration site, Daintree October 2015
Rainforest fruit seed collection activity
Rainforest fruit seed collection activity
Some rainforest fruit seed collection activity
Some rainforest fruit seed collection activity

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Thank you for adopting rainforest and assisting Rainforest Rescue us to purchase and protect vulnerable areas of tropical rainforest from development forever! Your support is making a significant impact assisting Rainforest Rescue to make great progress on large scale rainforest restoration.  Your precious contributions are propagating rainforest seedlings which are tirelessly planted on Daintree lands by our staff and volunteers –  in the last six months to see 8,288 trees planted on Lot 96 in Cape Tribulation, Daintree! We are pleased to report that with this number of tree planted this year, all areas requiring regeneration on Lot 96 Cape Tribulation, Daintree, are now fully planted out with matured seedlings and this stage of its restoration is now complete!

In May this year, volunteers travelled from far and wide to participate in Rainforest Rescue’s annual community tree planting weekend, which saw over 2,000 of the 8,288 trees planted on Lot 96 – a tremendous effort! Many of the 20,000 seedlings propagated annually at the Rainforest Rescue Daintree Nursery certainly got put to good use in this planting session!  Joe Riechl, our Land Manager in the Daintree, tells us that “…(the seedlings) have grown so much, some are almost waist high now.” After a lot of watering and weed control since May, the little rainforest trees are now thriving! Thank you so much for helping Rainforest Rescue to reach this wonderful milestone for Lot 96!

Such significant environmental restoration simply would not be possible without your continued support. The reason the regeneration of this land is so vitally important is because the Daintree Rainforest is home to 12 of the world's 19 primitive plant families, the highest concentration on earth! Overall, it maintains an amazing variety of plants and animals, including 122 rare, threatened and endangered species. Many of these species are 'endemic' to the region meaning that they are found nowhere else on the planet.

Your support helps to protect these beautiful species! Every tree planted in the ground to protect these extraordinary species’ habitat in the Daintree costs $10 and this helps secure a bio-diverse future for this unique rainforest! You are assisting us to undertake this important conservation work and plant these trees. It would not be possible without your generous support. Thank you.

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
the nursery team busy at work
the nursery team busy at work

With the support of our donors we reached an incredible milestone at the end of 2014 – we planted our 70,000th rainforest tree in the Daintree!

This is an incredible achievement, one that we are very proud of, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our dedicated donors and volunteers. Thank you very much.

We want to share with you the achievements from 2014:

  • Planted 18,099 rainforest trees in the Daintree
  • Held two community tree planting days in the Daintree with nearly 2,000 trees planted
  • Spent over 4,500 hours restoring our Daintree properties
  • Grew more than 20,000 seedlings in our Daintree Rainforest Nursery

Thank you – YOU made this possible

 

Our productive Daintree Nursery

Four years ago, our Daintree Nursery could propagate and grow 3000 plants per year. Last year, the nursery team propagated and grew over 20,000 plants; a figure set to continue to grow.

This increase in nursery capacity was made possible by donations and grants. The funding enabled our Daintree Nursery Manager and our Daintree Land Manager to streamline potting and growing processes. We were able to install steel framed benches to hold all the seedling trays, additional planting materials, plus supplementary irrigation equipment, all which have contributed to more effective outcomes.

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

The decision about what seeds to collect and propagate is based on the needs of the restoration site. Local fruits are collected from within the Daintree Lowlands; their seeds retrieved and readied for propagation.

Plans for this year

Thanks to your continued support and donation we have begun the year busily, maintaining the nearly 35,000 trees we have planted in the Daintree over the last two years – it takes two years of watering and weeding before the young seedlings are strong enough to grow without our maintenance. The late arriving wet season meant we had to water for much longer into the season.

Now the rain has begun falling (and falling) and this gives us the confidence to begun planting more seedlings.

Scoping out the most high conservation properties to protect

We have also begun planning our next purchases. First our volunteer Daintree advisors conduct detailed surveys to assess priority properties using our Daintree Land Acquisition Criteria Score Card. This enables us to rank and prioritise properties for purchase (and to ensure we use donors’ gifts as appropriately as possible).

It also ensures we focus our attention on acquiring property with high conservation values that provide habitat corridors for flora and fauna species, a number of which are officially listed as endangered or threatened.

The ten ranking criteria include: forest structural integrity, regional significance, degree of plant endemism, plant species conservation status, connectivity to other protected properties, corridor function, strategic location, existing degradation, settlement threat potential, and value for money.

 

It is already shaping up to be another busy year protecting and restoring rainforest – however with your support in Adopting Vulnerable Rainforest in Australia we can make a tangible difference.

some of the 2000 seedlings grown in 2014
some of the 2000 seedlings grown in 2014
Our productive Daintree nursery
Our productive Daintree nursery

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Attachments:
land prepared for planting
land prepared for planting

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:

  • 40 tonnes of debris was removed - including sheds, cement, tyres, caravans, water tanks and water tower
  • 4,975m2 of land weeded - Singapore daisy was knee deep
  • 1.4 hectares of land was planted with rainforest seedlings grown in our nursery
  • Weed clearing also enabled the natural regeneration of an additional 30 square metres
  • 1,764 trees planted
  • Equivalent of 31 days taken to remove debris, weeds and oil palms
  • Two more pieces of land restored to their natural rainforest
volunteers planting trees you have adopted
volunteers planting trees you have adopted
weeds, weeds, weeds - it was a jungle of bramble
weeds, weeds, weeds - it was a jungle of bramble
tyres recycled into children
tyres recycled into children's softfall playground
five Oil Palms that covered nearly one hectare
five Oil Palms that covered nearly one hectare
what we saved by protecting this land
what we saved by protecting this land
many old cars left to rot in the rainforest
many old cars left to rot in the rainforest

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Organization Information

Rainforest Rescue

Location: MULLUMBIMBY, NSW - Australia
Website: http:/​/​www.rainforestrescue.org.au
Project Leader:
Kaley Morrissey
Donor Care Executive
Mullumbimby, NSW Australia