The Re-establishing Rainforest Program involves restoring rainforest on land that was cleared long ago.
We work with private and public landholders who wish to restore rainforest by planting to create new patches of rainforest, expand existing remnants, connect remnants and convert Camphor Laurel forest and other weed infested areas to rainforest.
Over the 30 years to 2023 we have facilitated the planting of more than 2.5m trees to re-establish rainforest on almost 700ha in the Big Scrub region, which has almost doubled the total area of remnant vegetation. Our members have contributed significantly to these plantings.
These plantings have substantially increased the area of rainforest habitat for fauna and are facilitating landscape connectivity and species movement.
Unfortunately many of the key structural species in these plantings, particularly those that make up the closed canopy, lack the genetic diversity to survive in the very long term because the seeds collected and grown into the planting stock were collected from just a few trees in the Big Scrub. This problem will be remedied when the Science Saving Rainforests Program starts producing planting stock from seeds of 30 key structural and 30 threatened species that have the optimal genetic diversity to avoid inbreeding depression and to provide the greatest possible resilience to climate change, new insects and new diseases.
We run community planting days, which attract many children and their parents.
We provide advice and educational materials on restoration plantings, including presentations and workshops at our annual Big Scrub Rainforest Days.
We have also completed with landholders a number of successful projects to illustrate the conversion of Camphor Laurel forest to rainforest.
We publish a highly regarded manual: Subtropical Rainforest Restoration: A practical manual for Landcare groups, land managers and rainforest regenerators.
This manual includes information on how to do restoration plantings and, most importantly, a unique data set on characteristics relevant to plantings of more than 200 trees that aids in the selection of suitable species for differing conditions across the site e.g., boggy areas, frosty areas, edges. Now in its third edition, more than 5,000 copies of the manual have been sold over the past 25 years.
How our work is funded
The Big Scrub Foundation, not government, now provide a substantial proportion of the funding for our ongoing Re-establishing Rainforest Program. Help us conduct more of this crucial work to expand the area of Big Scrub habitat.