Our Co-Founder and Vice President, Mark Dunphy, has assumed the position of President of Big Scrub Rainforest Conservancy following our annual general meeting in December. 

Mark was voted in by members at the AGM, which was the last presided over by Dr Tony Parkes, our President of 30 years. 

Tony will continue to be a guiding force for Big Scrub RC as President Emeritus. Read our tribute to Tony’s 30 years of service to the Big Scrub. 

Many know of Mark’s achievements in the local regen industry and beyond, both as an office bearer for Big Scrub Rainforest Conservancy and through his nursery Firewheel Rainforest Nursery, which has grown over 2 million trees in its 35 years.

Mark Dunphy presenting at Big Scrub Rainforest Day in 2019.

Mark comes from a family with a proud history in conservation. His grandfather, Myles Dunphy, is often referred to as the “father of conservation” in Australia, for his pioneering work in bushwalking, mapping and activism. Mark’s uncle, Milo Dunphy, was also an active conservationist, starting the Total Environment Centre and dedicating much of his life to campaigns in the wet tropics, Lake Pedder, the Franklin and more.

At the age of 20, Mark moved to the Northern Rivers and began a career in conservation of his own. He is now an internationally recognised leader in the regeneration field, having worked on or managed over 100 major projects for local, interstate and international government and industry partners. His 40 years of work restoring the Big Scrub and other rainforest ecosystems has been published in Australian Rainforest Seeds, a resource regarded as the country’s leading guide for rainforest seed propagation.

Some say Mark has been working in rainforest regeneration for over 200 years! It hasn’t been quite that long, but if you look at his list of achievements, you’d be forgiven for thinking it might be. They include: 

  • Worked on or managed over 100 projects at >50 rainforest remnants, including 30 Big Scrub remnants, as well as internationally in Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. 
  • Started Eco-Regen in 1995, a restoration business employing up to 15 people in the planting season. 
  • Started Firewheel Rainforest Nursery in 1988, specialising in the propagation of subtropical rainforest species for restoration – over 2 million trees grown for rainforest restoration projects. 
  • Lead author of ‘Australian Rainforest Seeds. A Guide to Collecting, Processing and Collection’.
  • Major contributor to Big Scrub RC’s industry leading restoration manual ‘Subtropical Rainforest Restoration: A Practical Guide’.
  • A teacher of rainforest regen, conservation and land management through Skillshare programs, TAFE and at industry events. 
  • A regular presenter at field days, workshops and conferences, and has written papers for various journals. 

“Discovering rainforest regeneration was like a big green light for me,” Mark said. “I knew it was what I wanted to do. It wasn’t like most scientific work where it’s about observing, as regenerators, we are actually out there doing stuff – getting in there, removing weeds, manipulating the ecosystem to help make it recover from its degraded state. It is so satisfying to see the rainforest recover and thrive.

“Without Tony at the helm of the Big Scrub Rainforest Conservancy much of this work would not have happened. And now with Tony slowly stepping down, there’s nothing I’d rather do than try to carry on this great work and to save, expand and grow the Big Scrub rainforest and the Conservancy into the future.”