What does it take, when starting from ground zero – forest that has been converted to pasture – to identify and build a new, functioning corridor? I struggle to find good examples. Most corridors are either conserved within landscapes that have been otherwise converted to fields or town, or remain ideas drawn on maps between remaining fragments, ideas that will hopefully, one day, mature to become the corridors that are planned. In a remarkable conservation effort that should serve as a broader case study, Tucker and Simmons detail the identification, creation, and evaluation of a tropical forest corridor in Queensland. It is a beautiful illustration of how a vision for a corridor can engage a variety of stakeholders to lead to positive change for landscape conservation.
I found three striking aspects of this effort. First, three pictures – from 1943 (totally degraded), 1998 (just after the final restoration planting), and 2006 (maturing forest) – paint three thousand words. The effort starts with a blank slate and ends in connected forest reserves. Second, the vision is executed with attention to important details. The planting is zoned into four areas that delineate efforts for restoration that will take place over four years, areas that can be restored in manageable pieces. Hundreds of volunteers participate in the effort, stakeholders who at the same time take on more ownership in the effort’s success. Plants that initially make up the restored corridor are chosen with care to fit the climate and terrain. Third, extensive monitoring of plants and animals, including their presence and gene flow, leads to a rigorous evaluation of the corridor’s success. As the forest matures, the corridor will increase in function. I will look forward to a follow up report of how corridor function changes as restoration proceeds.
Tucker, N. I. J. and T. Simmons. 2009. Restoring rainforest habitat linkage in northern Queensland: Donaghy’s Corridor. Ecological Management and Restoration 10(2): 98-112.
Paekau, D., E. Vázquez‐Domínguez, N. I. J. Tucker, and C. Moritz. 2009. Monitoring movement into and through a newly planted rainforest corridor using genetic analysis of natal origin. Ecological Management and Restoration 10(3): 210-216.