NERP TE Project 12.2 Harnessing natural regeneration for cost-effective rainforest restoration (GU, UQ)

The project will assist decision-makers to more efficiently restore biodiversity to degraded rainforest landscapes by providing new knowledge about the outcomes of lower-cost natural regeneration (including potential for minimum intervention management) relative to higher-cost active reforestation (replanting) on post-agricultural land. The outcomes of this project will enable planners to assess the costs, risks and benefits of different approaches to reforestation and choose the most appropriate method for any particular ecological and economic context. This project will: 1. Quantify the rate and pattern of development of vegetation during rainforest regrowth following cessation of agricultural use, and how this compares with the outcomes of publicly-funded restoration by tree-planting. 2. Investigate, trial and promote emerging technologies for the acceleration and redirection of rainforest regrowth, to overcome ecological barriers or thresholds that inhibit rainforest redevelopment. 3. Identify locations and situations where passive restoration (unassisted regrowth) is a preferable alternative to high-cost active restoration (replanting). This will help government agencies and landholders to better forecast outcomes resulting from passive regeneration over defined time frames. This knowledge will also be useful to private enterprises interested in capitalising on emerging carbon markets. This work will be done on the Atherton Tablelands in the Wet Tropics.

Replanting rainforest is an expensive activity. This project will explore the potential for naturally regenerating forests (regrowth) to provide a much needed lower-cost option to restore critical habitat over large areas.

Principal Investigator
Catterall, Carla, Prof. School of Environment, Griffith University (GU)
Co Investigator
Shoo, Luke, Dr School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland (UQ)

Publications / Data