Super planting season on Christmas Island

The teams keep smiling, despite the rain

Christmas Island fields

It was all hands on deck this week with the Rehab and Natural Resources Management teams joining forces to make the most of the wet conditions – perfect for planting.

We planted over 4,000 plants in four days! This was a fantastic effort considering the trees were carried out, eight at a time, up muddy slopes and dug in by hand… all the in torrential rain. If the rains continue, we should be able to rehabilitate about five hectares of open fields with 12,500 primary trees, and in two to three year old fields another 10,000 secondary trees.

We plant two different groups of plants - primary species are sun-loving, fast-growing and well suited to open fields and we plant about 16 species of these. Secondary species prefer shade when they are young, and grow more slowly, but live a lot longer than the others. It’s the secondary species that ultimately form the forest giants - some of which we hope will grow to as much as 50 metres tall and eventually provide nesting sites for the endangered Abbott’s booby.

To improve plant health across the rehabilitation fields we’re trialling five different types of fertiliser with varying levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron sulphate, and trace elements, in new fields as well as fields of varying age.  We won’t get results for all of these at the same time – but some will show results within a month or so.

Alasdair, Christmas Island National Park

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