Native Daintree Nursery Upgrade and Maintenance Project
Daintree restoration opportunities are sharply increasing. At 11 years old, our Nursery needed desperate maintenance upgrade and repair. To significantly boost output and ensure the Nursery continues to be productive, we needed to implement improved systems. Within 5-10 years, Rainforest Rescue hopes to produce 100,000 trees annually collaborating with Port Douglas Council, Queensland Trust for Nature (QTFN), Jabalbina Aboriginal Corporation and local conservation groups. The Nursery boasts over 200 different Daintree species. With nearly 400 endemic species found in the Daintree, improved Nursery efficiencies would see even more species propagated to reflect the natural rainforest more accurately in future planting. The Nursery will become a focal point of collaboration for Traditional Owners, Jabalbina Aboriginal Corporation, for skill sharing, mutual learning and collaboration. Jabalbina, our official Partner, are taking ownership of the National Park where the Nursery is located and are very supportive of our operations. We are all very excited to be working more closely together. Possible outcomes will see traditional food and medicinal plants propagated, increasing incidence as well as education for the community and potentially as an add-on for tourism. The Nursery is managed by Rainforest Rescue’s Manager, Marine Deliens, who is responsible for seed collection and identification, species selection, propagation and growing of trees as well as managing volunteers from local communities and worldwide.
There has been a significant decrease in hours of work by Marine, and her volunteers’, time due to increased efficiencies attached to the Upgrade. One of the largest examples of this is the new irrigation system whereby Marine and her team now do not need to manually water; this reduces significant cost to Rainforest Rescue as Marine was making special trips into the Nursery on her weekends to ensure the seedlings were hydrated sufficiently. Because of the new irrigation system, for the first time in years, she doesn’t have to do this! Marine says; ‘’In the past, watering plants accounted for 5-7 hours a week during the dry season. Now zero hours due to automation!’’. Marine also notes the system has saved on transport time and fuel by saving on those weekend trips into the Nursery.
The team at the Nursery have been analysing species’ health and can now report that a higher species’ propagation survivability rate has been recorded, as we can now be sure of the amount of moisture collected by rain for the external seedlings and ensure we do not over water – consistent moisture levels are maintained.
Further reduced costs and transport time in having the trailer; to be able to pick up deliveries and not absorb this cost. We are also able to transport seedlings now on a much larger scale to the regeneration plots as opposed to going back and forth – very efficient, and sees us getting more trees in the ground, and quicker. Marine comments on the entire Nursery Upgrade Project; ‘’After only a few months I can already see that the new Upgraded Nursery will be able to produce 8,000 more trees per year (from 12,000 to 20,000) due to the larger hardening area and better seedling survival rate through all of the Nursery upgrades.’ This is an increase of 40%!
There are also SO many benefits of this Upgraded Nursery Project to all Daintree flora and fauna. This Upgraded Nursery will be maintained well and in strong hands into the future, when Rainforest Rescue plans to gift the Nursery to Jabilbina and see them take over management of this Nursery, as closely guided by Rainforest Rescue