$369,000 grant for lowland rainforest remnants
THE TREES towering over Dr Tony Parkes are only 16 years old, yet they show what is possible when the Big Scrub Landcare Group decides to regenerate a forest.
Now it has bigger, more ambitious plans.
The environmental group, whose myriad partners include Rous Water and every local council from the Clarence to the Tweed, has just won a $369,000 Federal Government grant to rehabilitate some of the most significant lowland rainforest remnants in the country.
“Some of the vegetation around here is 20-odd million years old, and can trace its genesis back to 100 million years ago,” Dr Parkes said. “We are dealing with a very ancient rainforest that has evolved over time.”
And while the remnant rainforests have survived the break-up of prehistoric Gondwanaland, the volcanic eruptions of Mount Warning, it was almost wiped out when 99 per cent of what had been the country's largest lowland tropical rainforest was logged earlier this century.
The surviving remnants are now facing another foe: Weeds.
“The main threat to the rich biodiversity and survival of the Big Scrub, another remnant, is the invasion of more than 130 weed species,” Dr Parkes said.
The group plans to spend up to 90 per cent of its grant on the ground - removing weeds from 80 lowland rainforest remnants, including 50 on private land.
The surviving patches, spread over 380,000 hectares, is sanctuary to more than 50 threatened species.