Robots to the ResQu for Australia’s Rainforests

Robotics researchers at CSIRO, in partnership with Biosecurity Queensland, have succcessfully designed and trialed two autonomous helicopters, developed to detect threatening weed species in Australia’s rare and precious rainforests.

The project, dubbed Project ResQu, has executed trials in the El Arish Rainforest near Cairns, successfully detecting and mapping weed growth in remote areas otherwise inaccessible by man. The trial located growth of a number of noxious weeds, including Miconia Calvescens (or the ‘purple plague’) that had not previously been noticed in areas deep within the dense rainforest. The detection of these areas of growth has allowed for early intervention, and the weeds will be removed.

The new sophisticated imaging technology will make locating weeds faster and more reliable than ever, allowing for early eradication before they can cause irreversible damage to our native plant and wildlife populations.

CSIRO Biosecurity Flagship Science Director, Dr Gary Fitt, said “In the biosecurity space effective surveillance is critical – we need to be able to detect incursions quickly and accurately. Technologies like the autonomous helicopter or other autonomous platforms provide us with another tool in the fight against these biological invasions […] The helicopters can navigate obstacles without human control while recording locations and images for biosecurity staff to scan for evidence of weeds.”

Queensland Science Minister Ian Walker said the robotic helicopter played a key role in protecting native flora from weeds, offering a money saving approach to boosting biosecurity and carrying out more effective mapping.

About Project ResQu:
Project ResQu is a two-year, $7M project led by the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA) in a collaborative project between the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), CSIRO, Boeing and Insitu Pacific with the support of the Queensland State Government Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts. Find out more here.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat have achieved ROC certification

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat have achieved ROC certification to add to their Advanced ECO Certification

Located in World Heritage Lamington National Park, Gold Coast Hinterland, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Villas and Lost World Spa is the perfect nature escape. Discover a world of lush rainforest, extensive network of bush walking trails, stunning waterfalls and abundance of unique Australian bird and wildlife. Choose from the traditional charm of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat or the private luxury of the Mountain Villas. For true rejuvenation, O’Reilly’s Lost World Spa offers therapeutic treatments and unique vinotherapy.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is a Green Travel Leader.

For more information on O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat please visit their website.

For information about ROC Certification, please visit our Website.

Tasmanian Old Growth Rainforest Protected Forever

Forest Lodge Rainforest Reserve, a 80.94 hectare property containing old growth cool temperate rainforest, has been purchased and protected forever thanks to generous Rainforest Rescue supporters, with final settlement taking place on the 10th of August 2012.

The new reserve is located at Pyengana, 26km inland of the town of St. Helens in north-east Tasmania. The property is located on the Rattler Range and is surrounded on three sides by the Mount Victoria State Forest Reserve, which has been designated by the Tasmanian government as a conservation zone.

The dominant trees on the property are old growth Myrtle Beech and Sassafras. Cool temperate rainforests in Tasmania occurs where rainfall is over 1,200mm per year and underneath the canopy the cool damp microclimate provides ideal conditions for the growth of ferns, mosses and lichens.

A feature of the property is the very large number and size of Soft Tree Ferns (Dicksonia Antarctica) that are known in Tasmania as Man Ferns.

Forest Lodge Rainforest Reserve provides suitable habitat for the Endangered Tasmania Wedge-tailed Eagle and the Endangered Tasmania Devil, an animal that is in great danger of extinction from habitat loss and facial tumour disease. It may also be home to other rare and endangered animals such as the Spotted-Tail Quoll, which is the second largest of the world’s surviving marsupial carnivores.

After fundraising and an extended process through which the Tasmanian government placed a covenant on the title and removed its designation as a Private Timber Reserve, the purchase was finalized in August 2012. The land is now protected forever through a Conservation Covenant that is registered on the title of the land that permanently protects its conservation values.

For full press release, please follow the link.