Volunteer News

Current volunteer makes priorities with OuTrop…

One of our autumn volunteers talks about his priorities when working with OuTrop…

“I’m Paul Fadden, one of 7 volunteers working on this project. I love going out and seeing the primates, but investigating restoration and survival of the rainforest is my primary concern, because without the forest there is little hope for the survival of most of the species that call the forest their home. This does not however include Blacky (dog) or Ballpen (cat), they’re local imports.

Paul’s fellow volunteer, Seb,
carrying seedlings to the forest edge

The aim of this trial reforestation project is to see how effective planting of trees can be in the sedge swamp, to reclaim land for the Rain Forest, in order to take the forest back to it’s original border next to the river, approx 1.2km from the current forest edge. The area was burnt down by large fires 50 years ago, and it is estimated that the rainforest has only managed to reclaim 50m naturally in that time. The Sedge Swamp is flooded for approximately 6 months a year and baked by the sun for the other 6 months, making the area an extremely harsh environment for new plants to survive and grow.
6 transects have been created, parallel to the forest edge, with Transect 1 lying 50m from the forest edge and the others progressively further away. The expectation is that the closer a transect is to the edge of the wood, the more plants will survive.  A selection of seven species of plants were selected and grown in the nursery over the last couple of years.Once the plants were selected and labeled, the next stage was the planting. Sun baked hell for some, wet muddy heaven for others, either way we all got very hot, very wet and very muddy, all apart from Helen (Kelasi Intern) who managed to come back dry and clean – we still can’t work out how! The transect was cleared by the local guides using their parangs (machetes). 

As the wet season approaches and the frequency of large storms and therefore rainfall increases, the more urgent planting became, as it would be impossible to plant the area when flooded and the seedlings need a chance to establish themselves before the area gets flooded and potentially they lose access to sun light. We now leave the seedlings to nature and for full-time monitoring – I hope the best for the future development of this project.

The forest edge, beyond which lies protected forest

This is just one example of the fantastic and vital work I have been able to be involved in – I am finding working with OuTrop an educational and all round amazing experience! “
Paul Fadden , OuTrop Volunteer , Group 2 2012