Springbrook Rescue
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The Springbrook Rescue Project

Springbrook Rescue” is a multi-stage project to protect and restore the World Heritage rainforests of the Springbrook region in South-East Queensland, Australia.

It involves seven programs:

  1. acquiring land to expand the World Heritage area
  2. restoring critical habitat and landscape connectivity
  3. community engagement in World Heritage protection, presentation and restoration
  4. science programs to guide restoration and monitoring
  5. protecting World Heritage through better governance
  6. presenting World Heritage values for their protection and community well being
  7. partnerships to realize a shared vision

The acquisition program originated in 2005, with ARCS providing pro bono advice to the Queensland Government on World Heritage values of properties that came onto the market and available for purchase by the Government. A key part of ARCS advice also involved detailed surveys and assessment of the contribution of such properties to the recovery of critical habitat and landscape connectivity, essential elements of long-term viability of the outstanding universal value of this wet heartland of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.

The restoration program began formally in July 2008 when ARCS signed a 20-year  “Restoration Agreement” with the Queensland Government, undertaking to carry out restoration of rainforest and other native vegetation on properties purchased by the Government for expanding the national park and World Heritage area. ARCS agreed to carry out the restoration at no cost to the Queensland Government. The initial estimate of the value of ARCS contribution over the first 10 years was $3.4 million. All program activities are timed and costed in detail as part of monitoring the real costs of ecological restoration and supporting scientific research. The revised estimates of actual costs may well be greater than the original estimates given the unexpected magnitude of the invasive species problem identified to date.

In 2012, ARCS received a three-year grant of $270,000 from the Biodiversity Fund under the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Plan. The grant was to be specifically applied for control and eradication of Aristea ecklonii (Blue Stars) belonging to a newly emerging and pernicious class of shade-tolerant weeds invading both undisturbed and disturbed habitats. The plant belongs to the Iridaceae family and was introduced from South Africa and Madagascar. Its densely clumping, light-blocking habit, vigorous rhizomatous growth and rapid spread can, if not eradicated, lead to long-term displacement of entire forests within the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.