Restoring cloud forest on the Atherton Tablelands
Conservation project snapshot
Action: Revegetation through planting and maintenance of 11,900 rainforest trees and maintenance on 17,000 trees already planted.
Area: 11 hectares
Location: Millaa Millaa, Far North Queensland
Vegetation type: Regional Ecosystem 7.8.4 - high altitude cloud forest on basalt
Threatened Species: Southern cassowary, Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo, lemuroid ringtail rossum, green ringtail possum, northern pygmy possum, golden bowerbird
Fundraising target: $175,825
The rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands provide habitat for much-loved, iconic, and threatened species including the southern cassowary, Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo and the golden bowerbird.
Historical clearing of the Atherton Tablelands has resulted in the rainforest being broken up into small fragments. This creates challenges for wildlife attempting to travel across the landscape.
Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo and the lemuroid and green ringtail possums are also restricted to the cooler parts of the Atherton Tablelands and other higher areas of the Wet Tropics. Expanding this important habitat is essential to support their long-term survival. Climate change poses a threat to a range of endemic cooler climate Wet Tropics species. Without functional connections within fragmented habitat areas, it is feared that the long-term survival of a range of species will be at substantial risk.
We can restore areas of rainforest by planting trees and strategically renewing wildlife corridors.
The area is protected as a nature refuge and is strategically located between the Malaan National Park and Herberton Range National Park. In addition, the block directly adjoins the World Heritage Area. Besides its strategic corridor value, this project also helps buffer the World Heritage Area.
17,000 trees have already been planted as part of this restoration project which we will continue to maintain with the help of contractors and our project partners, but there are still 3.5 hectares of land to be revegetated within the nature refuge protected area. Planting a further 11,900 rainforest trees will bring the total number of trees planted as part of this project to 28,900.
Management and implementation
Rainforest 4 Foundation will be responsible for managing the project through the Rainforest Rangers program with the support of our project partners and fellow non-profit organisation, South Endeavor Trust.
The project will:
- Establish 3.5 hectares of rainforest by planting 11,900 rainforest trees
- Hold community events for volunteers and corporate sponsors to help plant trees
- Maintain 17,000 trees for up to three years
- Document the project with photographs and provide reports on project outcomes
The project started in April 2023 with site preparation (the removal of weeds, and drilling holes with an auger) and a community tree planting event involving volunteers planting the first 1,000 trees. The additional 10,900 trees will be planted in 2024 with further community involvement.
The trees will be obtained from local community non-profit nurseries that specialise in growing local rainforest plants. All trees will be maintained at a very high standard and will be closely monitored and managed. Contractors will be engaged to prepare the site and to maintain the trees for 3 years. This will involve eliminating competition by removing weeds that germinate on the site.
Maintenance will be ongoing throughout 2023, 2024, and 2025.
The Atherton Tableland is a fertile plateau located in Far North Queensland. Deep volcanic soils, warm temperatures, reliable rainfall, and irrigation schemes have combined to make agriculture the main economic activity of the Atherton Tablelands. Dairy cattle graze the high rainfall south-eastern region around Millaa Millaa and Malanda.
Old-growth tropical rainforest at Millaa Millaa
Our project partner is South Endeavour Trust, a successful registered nonprofit organisation that acquires and manages land for conservation. We successfully partnered with them in 2021 for the acquisition of Oakey Scrub near Cooktown. They own and manage the Misty Mountain Nature Refuge, created through the acquisition of three other properties in the past decade including Cheelonga Cloud Forest, which was acquired with our assistance in 2023.