Trees planted in Madagascar to date: 115,163

Rainforests Are Crucial To Earth’s Survival

Feeling The Heat

With the heatwave we are experiencing I decided yesterday morning to get up early and go up to Springbrook Mountain as a welcoming relief from the heat. Springbrook, even though it is only 900 metres above sea level, is often a few degrees cooler than the Gold Coast. This is partly to do with it being covered in rainforest.

Ancient Antarctic Beech Trees - Springbrook          Ancient Antarctic Beech Forest - Springbrook National Park

MISTerious

I arrived at the Best of All Lookout at 6.30, and already the fierce rays of the sun were filtering through the ancient forest’s canopy. As I drove here, one of my favourite spots on the mountain, with often spectacular panoramic clear views down the northern nsw coast all the way to Byron Bay, on the way I noticed that the western side of the mountain was shrouded in mist. I decided to drive along Lyrebird Ridge Road, a beautiful forested road that this morning was haunting in its mysterious veil of cool mist.

Cooly Inviting

I have always had an affinity with nature and in particular, rainforests. The biodiversity in these environments is astounding. Scientists estimate that over half of the Earth’s known animal species inhabit rainforests. The main reason I had come today to Springbrook was to seek relief from the oppressive heat on the Gold Coast and I was warmly, I mean ‘cooly’ rewarded. The temperature was markedly cooler, especially as I drove along through the mist of Lyrebird Ridge Road, stopping numerous times to take photos and enjoy the reprieve. The cool mist was blowing up from the Numimbah Valley and I could only see 20 metres in front of me. It was incredible to think that while I was surrounded by this coolness, the Gold Coast below was bracing itself for another scorcher.

Rainforest in the mist - Lyrebird Ridge Road, Springbrook Mountain          Rainforest in the mist - Lyrebird Ridge Road, Springbrook Mountain

The Mystical Forest

There is something spiritual about being in a rainforest, especially one shrouded in mist. You could say the feeling is ‘mystical’, pun intended. As I would find out a few hours later, rainforests are even more important than I had imagined. Yesterday afternoon I happened to watch a program on TV as I had the air conditioning on to try and keep cool, and surprisingly it was a documentary on rainforests. Rainforests – The  Secret of Life was filmed in the same areas I visited earlier on yesterday. It was a fascinating to learn that scientists have discovered how rainforests are able to regulate the climate.

Mist shrouded forest - Lyrebird Ridge Road - Springbrook National park          Mist shrouded forest - Lyrebird Ridge Road - Springbrook National park

Cooling the Earth

Rainforests produce a massive amount of air borne bacteria that seed clouds causing them to produce rain. The clouds form over rainforests have the effect of protecting the Earth from the hot rays of the sun, and so are vital for regulating the Earth’s temperature. Rainforests cool the Earth as well as providing life giving water. The temperature, in fact, in rainforests, can be up to 15 degrees cooler in rainforests than the surrounding cleared land. Hence, rainforests are crucial in our fight to prevent Global Warming.

Springbrook National Park          Clouds over Springbrook Mountain

Slowly Cooking Ourselves To Death

As I sat there in the sweltering heat, sweat dripping down my back, trying to keep out of the sun, I could only contemplate the utter madness that drives us to continue to destroy the Earth’s rainforests at an alarming rate. The effects of Global Warming have already been felt around the world with the climate out of balance, yet rainforests continue to be destroyed at an alarming rate of 100,000 football fields a day.

Moisture laden rolling mist up from Numimbah Valley providing a cool reprieve         Rainforest destruction - a cause for great human concern

Making It ‘Uncool’ To Destroy Rainforest

We need rainforests for our very survival, and with only 20% of the world’s rainforests remaining, their importance should not be underestimated. It is time we all take a stance and make it ‘uncool’ to destroy rainforests. It all begins with awareness and education and Governments as well as people around the world understanding the critical importance of these ecosystems for our survival. We have become so reliant on the resources that come from rainforests, but we nonetheless need to find solutions, from helping people such as subsidence farmers out of poverty and stopping collusion and corruption at the highest levels in countries that hold the wealth of rainforests. The forest are not owned by any one country, they are part of the Earth, and we need to begin to look at things in this light.

Rainforest destruction - a cause for great human concern          Rainforest destruction - a cause for great human concern

Changing Times Require A Change In Attitude

After driving down Lyrebird Ridge Road, I went on a bushwalk on the eastern side of Springbrook Mountain, walking through forests and under waterfalls and then later drove back to Lyrebird Ridge Road. I met a local resident as I was looking over pastureland out towards Numimbah Valley and Binnaburra, whence earlier that morning I had taken magical photos of fences disappearing in the mist. I asked her about the Springbrook Rainforest Reforestation Project and how the Queensland Government had under Bligh bought up land on the mountain to regenerate into rainforest and add to the Springbrook National Park. She was not very sympathetic to the Government’s decision, even though she lived on the mountain, and enjoyed the natural beauty it had to offer. If only she could have understood the vital importance of rainforests for our very survival. Old attitudes of putting an economic figure on natural resources need to alter if we are to see lasting change.

Rainforest use aerobacteria to seed clouds that provide life giving rain          Rainforest use aerobacteria to seed clouds that provide life giving rain

Working Together To Ensure Our Future

Springbrook National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Gondwana was one of the two ancient supercontinents, the other being Laurasia, that made up the supercontinet Pangea, billions of years ago. As the land masses separated and drifted apart, vestiges of the plants that once lived there only survived in cool areas. Antarctic Beeches are found here in the cool mountain elevation and at the Best of All Lookout, an ancient specimen, reputed to be over 2000 years old, can be seen. It is heartening to see that the Queensland Government is working in partnership with the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society to regenerate the purchased properties, and that they have put an importance in preserving these remnant rainforests.

Rainforests are crucial to our survival          Springbrook Rainforest Reforestation project

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