Rainforest Symposium a success

26 April 2017

Rainforests of Subtropical Australia (ROSA) Symposium

This successful two-day symposium showcasing all types of subtropical Australian rainforests, was held on 23rd and 24th March 2017 at the Robina Community Centre on the Gold Coast. A dinner and drinks event was held on the evening of 23rd March at the Currumbin RSL. The symposium was hosted by Healthy Land and Water (HLW) and the major sponsor was the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme (NLP).

All rainforest types found in subtropical Australia, being the Littoral Rainforest and Coastal Vine Thickets of Eastern Australia, Gondwana Rainforest of Eastern Australia, Lowland Rainforest of Subtropical Australia and the Semi-Evergreen Vine Thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions, are Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES) and a focus of the National Landcare Programme.  

Rainforests of Subtropical Australia sought to:

  • revisit the rainforest status and restoration efforts a decade after the Rainforest Recovery conference 2006 at Griffith University
  • raise awareness and knowledge of the Endangered Ecological Communities
  • shine a light on rare and threatened species in rainforests
  • acknowledge elders of the rainforest work
  • share mapping approaches toward achieving consistency across the bioregion for effective restoration and protection
  • empower private landholders, agency managers and corridor managers with knowledge and skills
  • connect communities of interest across the border
  • promote public-private land connections
  • help Local Government areas to collaborate
  • share new research and practice learnings
  • identify future pathways and partnerships.

Some notable outcomes from the Symposium include:

  • Tim Low (lead keynote) subsequently invited to present to the joint meeting of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia Community Advisory and Technical Advisory Committees in August 2017; focus on key values for Gondwanan interpretation narratives and monitoring values under changing climates.
    • Tim also provided information and evidence to support a significant shift away from investing restoration effort in landscape corridors to the identification and retention of refugia.
  • Carla Catterall raised several restoration dilemmas that continue to be actively discussed post-Symposium - for example the first trees to establish in disused pasture are often non-native species. Plus, should we encourage rainforest invasion of some sclerophyll communities, especially at the urban interface where hot fires are impossible?
  • Maximo Bottaro presented information on the difference in genetic diversity between remnant rainforest trees and nursery seedlings for adaptable regeneration, resulting in a significant shift towards recognising the value of sourcing seed from remnant rainforest trees to enhance genetic diversity of species used in restoration plantings.
  • The Fire and Rainforest Q&A lead to a strong argument made for the retention of ecotonal boundaries between rainforest and neighbouring communities and managing the expansion of rainforest using fire to protect adjacent vegetation communities, particularly eucalypt forests with a grassy understorey.

 

ROSA included 4 keynote presentations, over 25 presentations, and a Fire and Rainforest Q&A. Over the two days, the symposium attracted more than 340 people from Innisfail to Grafton. Attendees represented a range of sectors, with 30% from Not for Profit organisations, 30% government, 13% universities, 12% from industry, 9% landholders and 6% volunteers.