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14 May, 2021

Wet Tropics Management Authority awarded for excellence in rainforest restoration

The Wet Tropics Management Authority has won a prestigious international award recognising its work in restoring rainforest on Mt Hypipamee in the Atherton Tablelands section of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (the Area).


Scott Buchanan and Leslie Sheriffs

The Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA) announced the winners of the SERA awards for Excellence in Ecological Restoration Practice for projects from around Australasia, and the awards were presented at the SERA2021 conference in Darwin this afternoon (13 May 2021).

The winner for projects under 50 hectares went to the Authority’s Mt Hypipamee Rainforest Restoration, Queensland.

The Authority’s Executive Director Scott Buchanan said: “This award is testament to the expression ‘from little things, big things grow’. We facilitated planting 8.5 hectares of land with endemic rainforest trees. This has created a 1.7km corridor that now links some 142 hectares of remnant and regrowth forest.”

The project targeted a landscape with significant biodiversity values, engaged local communities, and fostered on-going (multi-institutional) research partnerships to deliver conservation outcomes.

“A restoration project of this magnitude would never have been possible firstly without the $600,000 commitment from the Australian government, but also without the support of so many project partners, in particular South Endeavour Trust who have carried the baton for this project in recent years. Other partners include Griffith, James Cook and Queensland Universities, landowners, Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples, multiple government agencies, community groups, environmental organisations and the many volunteers over the past decade,” Mr Buchanan said.

“Collaboration is key to ensuring a sustainable future for our world heritage listed rainforests.”

The award acknowledges the project’s significant, enduring and internationally recognised contribution to the science and practice of ecological restoration through achieving high standards of practice at a site or the development of innovative new approaches, methods and for involving the public in restoration efforts.

“Part of this project involved an experimental approach to catalysing rainforest regeneration on former pasture lands,” Mr Buchanan said.

“These “kickstart” trials aimed to test a novel lower cost alternative to biodiversity planting. Again, with various sources of support, this project has continued, and has been accompanied by scientific monitoring of both flora and birds.” 

A total of nine outstanding restoration projects were shortlisted as finalists.

These included a range of projects conducted in agricultural lands, conservation reserves, wetlands and riparian and marine areas across Australia and Asia.

Chair of the Authority, Leslie Shirreffs said collaborative approaches over the long term, such as the Mt Hypipamee Rainforest Restoration Project were part of the Authority’s vision to make the Wet Tropics community a world leader in successful adaptive management of World Heritage in response to climate change.

“This award is certainly recognising that effort,” she said. 


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