Reforesting the World
NightWings site of restoration
© Martin Stringer
Reflecting on the magnificent trees in Far North Queensland, on this Earth Day 2023. It’s fitting considering the importance of the Daintree to our national identity, regional ecology and economy. As the oldest continuously evolving and still surviving rainforest on earth, and one of the most significant ecosystems in the world, the Daintree continues to be pivotal to our global understanding of the evolutionary history, biological processes and biodiversity of rainforests. It is for these reasons that Rainforest Rescue has chosen the spectacular landscape of the Daintree as our base of restoration and conservation activities for coming up on 25 years.
In 2012, the world crossed the threshold—a reading of 400 parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric carbon dioxide was registered at research stations in the Arctic. In the following decade, CO2 levels have increased 10 percent, global average temperatures have increased, Arctic Sea ice loss has accelerated, and extreme weather events have become more frequent. Scientists around the world have concluded, “Climate change is an undeniable fact that has been accelerating at an alarming rate. The science is clear: human activity is the primary driver of this phenomenon.” Land degradation and deforestation are key factors driving this ecological transformation as planetary ecosystems are failing at ever-increasing rates.
We, as the human community, stand at the crossroads.
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man does not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
— Chief Seattle
Now for the good news. The UN recently issued a statement about areas that give cause to hope: targeted efforts in protected areas are improving outcomes for nature, and conservation efforts are preventing extinctions, improving water quality, increasing soil health, increasing biodiversity, mitigating climate change, creating recreational activities and supporting rural jobs. Long-term restoration and conservation of key ecosystems is one of the major keys to a revitalised future. It’s true … trees are the answer!
Kurranji Bubu Naming Ceremony with Kuku Yalanji Traditional Owner, Andrew John Solomon
© Silvia Di Domenicantonio
Rainforest Rescue offers a great example of a committed, innovative organisation that is demonstrating natural climate solutions by focusing on restoration and conservation outcomes. In addition to purchasing intact and priceless habitat and creating and extending protected nature reserves, we work to educate and inspire others to take action towards the great ecological U-turn that is so important for our onward survival—planting trees to increase habitat and biodiversity, draw carbon out of the atmosphere and reduce primary drivers of climate change.
Over the course of nearly 25 years, Rainforest Rescue has planted over 320,000 trees, and preserved 1,776,861 square metres of land forever. Over the last few years, we have expanded our restoration activities to invite the business and philanthropic worlds to be part of these social and environmental outcomes. These businesses, philanthropic trusts and foundations provide a channel for financial support outside of traditional government funding. With now over 160 active Partners, Rainforest Rescue is thrilled to be inviting these businesses and organisations to invest in restoration as part of their business model.
The foundation of this increase in restoration capacity is made possible with the opening of the new nursery built at the old Cow Bay airstrip. Funded by these same business and philanthropic partners and people like you from around the world, the nursery is the largest in the region with over 4,000 square meters of growing space. Offering an essential ingredient for land restoration – including seed propagation, planting, land management and impact monitoring – the nursery is at the heart of our business model for our long-term sustainability and land management plans.
NightWings site of restoration 2017-2019
© Martin Stringer
Using cross-sector partnerships and community-led projects to re-establish a positive relationship with nature, Rainforest Rescue’s nursery forms the foundation of a restoration economy in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland. With a capacity of producing 150,000 trees per year, Rainforest Rescue now has the potential to deploy restoration activities to scale and deliver lasting environmental, social and financial benefits for land restoration projects across the region.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
—ancient Chinese proverb
With this growth comes the knowledge and learnings hard won from a quarter of a century of environmental work—wisdom that will help to move our communities towards a more productive and sustainable relationship with our natural world, and the tools to fix what has been broken. The World-Heritage Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland is among the planet’s most precious assets. The trees in the Daintree are some of the biggest and longest-living organisms on the planet. In the 60 million years since Australia broke free from the super-continent Gondwana, life has evolved here due to our rich ecological heritage.
There has never been a more important time to be planting trees. Lots of them. Because of your continued support, that is what we will continue to do, both now, and for the future.
We can make real changes to slow down, and even reverse, the process of climate change. We have the resources and the know-how. All we need now is the determination and the courage to take action. If we stand together and take action for our planet’s health, we can protect our natural world and protect this fragile ecosystem.
Together we will ensure that generations to come can continue to marvel at the rich beauty and complexity of this timeless landscape…and that the rare and threatened species that make up the complex web of life in the Daintree continue to thrive.
Together we are creating a better, greener future.
Catch up on the latest news and images of the nursery on our New Nursery for the Daintree project page, and learn about our upcoming rescues, Lots 11 & 12 Forest Creek Road.
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