The completion of our flagship project at Cave Creek is now almost in sight. What will have to follow is maintenance; the number of shade tolerant weeds rampaging up and down the east coast of Australia increases every year. If our snakes and frogs are to survive we must monitor cane toad numbers, which will increase with climate change. The health of Cave Creek itself is another case for concern, as tourists visiting Natural Bridge during the day, covered as they are with insect repellent, sunscreen, antiperspirant and whatever else, refuse to obey the signs begging them not to swim in the creek. When flows are low the concentration of chemicals in the water can easily become lethal for the small organisms that feed all the creatures that live in the creek.
What we hope is that more and more of our neighbours will see that what we are doing is intensely rewarding and will decide to regenerate their own bits and pieces of rainforest, even clubbing together to create significant stretches of habitat. Because, as Lawrie Johnson, late great expert in Gondwanan floristics, said, as long ago as 1975:
“Keep even the smallest patches of native or semi-native vegetation – the large reserves alone are not enough”.
We also hope to inspire people living in other fragments of Gondwana to acquire remnant rainforest and actively to rehabilitate it. We dream of seeing Friends of Gondwana Rainforest in all those parts of the world where it is in danger of extinction. We understand that where there is intense population pressure the areas involved will of necessity be small, but we shall never give up hope that, when we finally learn how to manage this most exuberant and multifarious of all planets, ancient subtropical rainforests will come into their own again.