Christmas Island – rehab of old mine sites

We’ve had almost non-stop rain for months now and 2010 was our second wettest year ever recorded (3,655 mm!).

Despite the rain we’ve managed to plant about 3,000 trees in the past two weeks. The team has done an amazing job despite being soaked to the bone and covered in mud.

Christmas Island revegetation | Parks Australia

Christmas Island revegetation | Parks Australia

The mud has also played havoc with vehicle access and especially the earthworks; it has simply been too slippery for the trucks to move top soil to all the areas we had hoped. We just have to plant where we can and when we get a few hours of dry weather, keep tackling the weeds. They’ve gone absolutely berserk so we are fighting an uphill battle there.

Christmas Island landslide | Parks Australia

Christmas Island landslide | Parks Australia

I’m new here and I’m finding it a fascinating place ecologically. The tropical rainforest is amazing, I just can’t believe how quickly trees grow here – over two metres a year for some species. Not only are all the plants super-sized, but so are the creepy-crawleys.

The other day I saw an orb-weaver spider as big as your hand eating a bird caught in its web! Oh, and the introduced centipedes (Scolopendra species) are crazy- up to 30cm long and enormous, venomous fangs on them. They are really common so you’re always on the lookout for them- one monster scuttled out in front of me when I opened the office this morning. Who needs a coffee when you get that kind of start to your day! It’s a very different place from the mainland in so many ways, and whenever I seem surprised, the locals just smile and say “Welcome to Christmas Island!”

Cheers,
Alasdair, Christmas Island National Park

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