Transforming Agricultural Land into Rainforest Habitat – NightWings
In 2015 Rainforest Rescue was approached by land-owner Annie Shoenberger to transform fifteen hectares of old sugarcane fields into thriving Daintree lowland rainforest.
In 2016 and 2017 with the help of many individuals, organisations and businesses, we cultivated and started planting trees and revived a wetland area to draw in wildlife. Between 2018 and 2019 tens of thousands of trees were planted at NightWings to repair this damaged land.
Today over tens of thousands of seedlings are growing and calling this land home. By project’s end, these seedlings will be flourishing between the lowland Daintree to the upland Rainforest and beyond to the coast.
Trees Are The Answer
Most of the 150 species of trees are fruiting which attracts birds and bats, helping restoration by dispersing seeds to adjoining rainforests. These trees were propagated and prepared for planting at our Daintree Rainforest Plant Nursery. The largest trees are now 5m high, ground vegetation is lush and insects, lizards and birds are repopulating this rainforest wonderland.
Rainforest Rescue staff spotted a juvenile Southern Cassowary Cassowary at NightWings in December 2018, this was the first time this species has been seen south of the Daintree River in over forty years! This is proof that restoration really does generate and welcome wildlife back to the land they once inhabited.
The environmental benefits are striking, with water tests taken over the last two years showing that the replanted rainforests have significantly helped reduce sedimentation and turbidity levels that previously flowed through the rivers to the Great Barrier Reef causing coral and species destruction.
Says Great Barrier Reef Legacy’s John Rumney “We’re very pleased to partner with Rainforest Rescue and work together to expand coastal rainforest habitat while also improving water quality for the benefit of a healthier reef.”
The success of NightWings Rainforest project relies on the support of committed people & organisations focused on restoring these complex and dynamic biodiverse systems.
Annie Schoenberger, owner and founder of NightWings, is committed to this land being a refuge for fruit bats in particular, including a bat rescue centre. Once reforestation is complete NightWings will apply for Nature Refuge status for permanent protection.
Projects like NightWings provide hundreds of kilometres of corridors from the headlands to the mangroves, offering wildlife a chance to thrive again in this very unique area of Australia.
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