A visit to Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road in Cow Bay has revealed the potential of natural regeneration to restore our rainforests.
Field Day visit to the site in June 2023.
Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road was one of four sites visited during the Daintree Restoration Field Day on June 12-13, organised by the Wet Tropics Management Authority and the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation.
The event saw stakeholders including community and nonprofit organisations, local government, and the Jabalbina Rangers come together over two days to create stronger partnerships, learn from each other, and discuss collaboration on how to achieve improved outcomes for rainforest restoration.
Our CEO Richard Christian and Founder Kelvin Davies showed the 40 field day participants the techniques used and outcomes achieved on Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road at Cow Bay.
Restoring Daintree's Lot 11
With the help of our donors, we settled on the purchase of Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road in December 2021.
The 12,000-square metre block – which shares a boundary with the Daintree National Park on three sides – was two parts remnant rainforest and one part weeds, including giant bramble.
Our intention was to see how much of the property could be restored without planting trees.
Preparing to remove the giant bramble in 2022.
In February last year, we removed the invasive plants with the help of a Daintree-based bush regeneration contractor. Four days of work with a hedge trimmer removed 4,000 sqm of giant bramble.
We followed this up with a direct seeding trial all to assist the property’s natural regeneration. Then we waited.
Kelvin inspects new growth.
Last week, we saw just how effective these strategies have been at breathing new life into cleared land when we hosted a talk on the block as part of the Daintree Restoration Field Day.
Over the past 18 months, the wind, bats and birds including the southern cassowary, delivered seeds to the property. Thousands of seeds have germinated and now, after two wet seasons, some of the trees have grown to be 3-5 metres tall.
This cost-efficient rainforest restoration technique ensures the plants established are native to the site and of the correct provenance.
We found natural regeneration was most successful around the property’s perimeter under the dripline of the established trees.
Over most of the cleared areas, natural regeneration has been significant. Thousands of rainforest trees have been established at a very low cost. The main activity required has been the initial weed control and follow-up maintenance which has involved only 60 hours of work in total.
Where natural regeneration was poor, we planted trees to close the gap in the canopy. Only 250 trees have been planted by volunteers and the Jabalbina Rangers, who are also maintaining the site with weed control occurring every 3 months.
Collaboration to Care for Country
The second day of the Daintree Restoration Field Day saw the participants gather at the Daintree Rainforest Observatory at Kulki/Cape Tribulation and started with a Welcome to Country ceremony provided by Kuku Yalanji Elders.
Welcome to Eastern Kuku Yalanji Country
A discussion led by the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation on how stakeholders could best work with Kuku Yalanji Traditional Owners left us feeling positive and excited about the great work our organisations are already doing together, including our latest project at Wawu Dimbi.
Kelvin Davies with Traditional Owners, Betty and Clive Sykes
We look forward to continuing to collaborate with stakeholders in the Daintree Rainforest for the restoration of our rainforests.
Thank you to the Wet Tropics Restoration Alliance for helping to bring us all together.
The Wet Tropics Restoration Alliance is a coalition of organisations working together to help secure the future of the world’s oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforest, and to build the ecological, social, cultural and financial resilience of the Wet Tropics region.