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Re-foresting Farmland to Join the Rainforest to the Reef

What many don’t understand or even know about, is the connection between the rainforest and the reef. Scientists are still learning more about this connection, as summarised by Rainforest Rescue below.

The bleaching of coral from global warming has received international media coverage. In addition, sediments and chemicals from farming and mining are flowing off the land and onto the reef, impacting on natural systems. We are only just starting to learn about the complex interconnectivity of these systems.What’s clear is that intact rainforest landscapes promote healthy reefs that in turn protect marine biodiversity. Intact ecosystems also influence weather patterns, including rainfall which is vital for a healthy rainforest.”

 Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Daintree Rainforest, and assist with reforestation efforts at the invitation of Rainforest Rescue. This invitation came off the back of OORR’s charitable donation, which formed part of the necessary funds to establish a powered office in the remote location of the charity’s nursery. As a result of this funding, the nursery has now installed solar power, vastly improving convenience and productivity of the facility. More on that HERE. 

Excited by the prospect of having an excuse to visit the Daintree, I decided that I would share the experience with my eldest son Ryan for company. Bringing Ryan along for the trip had many benefits. Surrounded by intelligent, passionate, positive people, he was exposed to the good that can result from such a meeting, and their infectious optimism. He now understands more deeply why the rainforest is in need of protection. He got to see first hand how beautiful and extraordinary this part of the world is, and is now proud of his contribution to it’s conservation. I have a feeling that just this one day in the rainforest will mean he is an advocate for life.

On arrival, we were greeted by the land owner, who was (and regularly does) nursing an orphaned Flying Fox. This was not only ridiculously cute, but also very educational. I had not previously considered flying foxes as pollinators, but for obvious reasons they are - and consequently VERY important for the health of the rainforest.

 

Cassowarys are another hugely important species to the rainforest - in this age, they are the only animal large enough to consume various specific fruits. Without being consumed, the seeds of these plants cannot populate - so we have a symbiotic relationship where one literally cannot survive without the other.

Following the flying fox encounter, we were welcomed to the planting by the local custodians of the land by way of a smoking ritual, to keep us safe while we were there.

 

The nursery grow approx 30000 seedlings each year for planting across some 140+ different species on 30+ locations.

Some of these trees can last for thousands or even millions of years – this gave Ryan a real kick – knowing that the trees he was planting could potentially still be living so far into the future. There are prehistoric trees currently in the rainforest that  have survived since the earth was one continent, known as Pangaea -- continually moving and sending up new shoots over time to adapt to changing climate and soil conditions.

Due to the favourable conditions of warm temperatures, natural light, the fast growing nature of the species and good soil, these trees grow remarkably quickly. The trees in this photo below are only 4 years old.

As a result of the donation from OORR, Rainforest Rescue chose to honour us by painting 'OORR' on the side of the container that is now acting as the hub of the nursery.

Since our visit, the container has been finished - painted by the local children's school, and powered by solar panels backed up with battery storage. Here are the solar panels being installed on the roof.

 

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience - actually getting your hands dirty somehow connects you more deeply with the rainforest. I look forward to assisting Rainforest Rescue long into the future as they continue to acquire land to protect it, and reforest farmland to reconnect the rainforest to the reef. To learn more about the charity, or make a donation of your own, visit https://www.rainforestrescue.org.au/

OORR donates 5% of annual revenue to our charity partners, including Rainforest Rescue. Your buying decisions do make a difference, and we're here to provide real value to that dollar.