On this page, we will showcase the planting process, which involves site selection right through to young tree aftercare, and will regularly update this page as new planting progresses. We aim to plant 500,000 trees, and the mainstay of this project is funding. Each tree costs $10, which covers all costs for site preparation, purchase of trees, planting and maintenance. To donate for trees, just click the link and select the amount here
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
We will be planting indigenous rainforest species on areas comprised of old unused service roads, key areas of weedy roadside reserve, and on private freehold land. When selecting areas, we look at ease of access, local council or other guidelines, community concerns, and identify areas of high value - regarding increasing habitat and wildlife food resource, expanding or creating corridors, and adding demonstrable value to the Daintree area.
Once the site is fully prepared, it's time to dig holes. Most of our trees are grown in 70mm square forestry tubes, and we use a petrol powered post hole digger with a 100mm auger attached. When digging, we drill down at least twice the depth of the pot to allow rapid taproot penetration into the loosened soil, with holes spaced at roughly 1200mm stem centres. When finished, it looks something like this.
After planting comes the last stage - maintenance. This involves watering (when necessary) and weed control to prevent competition or smothering by introduced weeds (and some native vines) - which grow rapidly in the tropical climate. Weed control is carried out via a combination of mechanical and chemical means, with the aim of using the least amount to get the job done until the young trees are well established. New rainforest is born.
planting 1048 TREES in 38 secs
The video on the left is a time-lapse of our first Daintree Life community plant. On Sunday 18 November 2018, Twenty-five volunteers gathered to plant 1048 trees on an old unused service road in Cow Bay, in the heart of the Daintree rainforest. With a fantastic crew, the planting was completed in just 90 minutes.
On the day a camera was set up to record a frame every eight seconds throughout the planting process. Here we present the results in a short video.
Note: this is a lo-res video. To download the hi-res video file, click here
Having selected a site, the area is measured and GPS mapped to the metre and then a shapefile is drawn using ArcGIS software. This gives us an accurately automated area in square metres and a tree density and number count, allowing us to order trees. From there comes the physical task of manual removal of all large weeds such as Guinea Grass, Giant Bramble, Knobweed, Snakeweed, and Tobacco Weed. This is followed by brush cutting to prepare the ground (as in the photo on the left). We then follow up around two weeks later with a single application of herbicide to kill off weed regrowth and to catch newly germinating weeds. The site is now ready for holes - and a rest.
Now comes the good bit - planting trees. We source indigenous local rainforest species from local nurseries and plant all three vegetation layers concurrently (understory, canopy, and emergent). The dense 1.2m spacing is initially more expensive than wider-spaced plantings, but achieves the following positive outcomes: Dense planting encourages early height. It also achieves the most rapid development of dense rainforest - with canopy formation and closure in around 18 months. This shuts out the light to weeds, meaning we use far less herbicide, with complete cessation of weeding maintenance in 12-18 months. Taken together, these benefits produce great environmental outcomes.
trees planted to date: 12,328