Saturday 23rd November saw the culmination of several months of planning and site preparation when students, staff, and several Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands (TREAT) members planted 1,540 rainforest seedlings at the Centre for Rainforest Studies (CRS). TREAT donated trees grown at the National Parks nursery, contractors sprayed the site to suppress grass growth, CRS students, staff, and friends dug hole after hole, a good roll-up of planters on the day got the trees planted and protected with tree guards and hey-presto all was finished—ready to enjoy a BBQ lunch and await the storm that, right on cue, arrived in the afternoon to water the trees in.
There are 60 different rainforest species from 43 different genera in the high-diversity mix planted including many bird dispersed species. Several of the species are favoured food plants of the Lumholtz Tree-kangaroo and, though tree-kangaroos are extremely rare on the CRS property, once our new trees grow we may be able to provide browse for orphaned or injured tree-roos rehabilitating in care. Some species planted are also very palatable to red-legged pademelons, a small forest macropod that is abundant at CRS. Hence the need for the tree guards to protect against pademelon browse.
As they grow, this latest planting will see another 0.5 hectare of forest cover added to the steadily regenerating rainforest on the CRS property. Since SFS purchased the 62 hectare site in 1988, approximately 10% of the property has either been planted with native trees and/or allowed to regenerate and now, about 97% of the property is forested. The area where the new trees have been planted is adjacent to an older revegetation site, planted as experimental plots in 1993. These older plots have been regularly studied and have provided important information on the effects of original species mix on seedling recruitment in regenerating forest. Nearing the end of the semester, tree planting was a fitting way to round off this program’s rainforest restoration efforts and provide a lasting commemoration of our Centre’s 25th Anniversary year.