The more we delve into the dense ecosystems of our rainforests, the more we realise just how little we know. Our dedicated team of ecologists, horticulturalists and botanists are working together to build one of the most valuable and broad libraries of knowledge about Australia and by extension the environment at large. The rainforests of NSW and Australia are incredibly complex and diverse. With the help of some of our experts we are beginning to draw a more complete picture of these fascinating ecosystems, such that we can design the best solutions to preserve them.
Understanding dispersal and encouraging growth
As external effects play on the vulnerabilities of our rainforests, truly understanding plant dispersal behaviours and their weakness is crucial to their conservation. Dr Maurizio Rossetto’s work in this area has been crucial. By combining hands-on fieldwork with the latest technologies, Dr Rossetto continues to make important progress. It’s only through his work that we’ve come to realise the vulnerabilities of large-fruited plants in rainforests and are able to find the tools to strengthen those vulnerabilities.
The importance of active fieldwork
One of the most effective ways to preserve the vulnerable flora of our rainforests is to collect and store the seeds. But rainforest seeds cannot be stored just like any other seed. Researchers go into the field, to collect, identify and research various plants to determine their storage potential.
Seedbank Officer Gavin Phillips spends three weeks of the month in the field, managing the seed collection program. It is through work such as his that we gain the crucial knowledge we need to conserve these rainforests.
The extraordinary diversity of our rainforests is still vastly untapped. Systematic Botanist Dr Matt Renner, for example, has conducted three separate projects in the Wet Tropics of North Queensland in recent years and has come home with more than ten new species. If it weren’t for the vital fieldwork undertaken, we’d miss out on some exciting discoveries of recent years.