Measuring Success of Large Scale Rainforest Restoration

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Canopy cover, number of species, plant density, and rate of growth are 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.

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…

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