The 20 million trees is an Australian Government initiative facilitated by the National Landcare Program that set the goal of having 20 million new trees in the ground by 2020. The Oxley Creek Catchment Association won a tender to plant 27,000 trees along the walking track at the Oxley Creek Common, the trees would establish a wider forested area for wildlife and soil stabilization.

The University of Queenslands, Dr John Dwyer, thought that this would be a perfect opportunity to use these new plantings as a research plot to get hard data on the revegetation process in South-East Queensland. The Oxley Creek Catchment Association also enlisted the help of a direct seeding plow to create a forested buffer around the UQ research plots and to begin the process of regenerating a native seed bank with nitrogen rich soil. 16,000 trees and shrubs were planted during Brisbane’s hottest November on record and all of it was recorded by Dr John Dwyer, plant ecologist at the University of Queensland.

Research conducted by Ronald Gardiner, Dr. Luke Shoo, and Dr. John Dwyer focused on the optimal seedling heights for subtropical rain forest restoration in extreme heat. Their key findings were that the seedling heights were the strongest influence on plant survival, while bulk density of the soil and plant elevation also significantly contributed to plant success and growth rates.

“Survival was lowest when seedlings were planted in high bulk-density soils on hot days, and growth was fastest in plots with higher average elevation. Synthesis and applications. While traits modulated optimal seedling heights to some extent, overall we recommend planting subtropical rainforest seedlings between 25 and 35 cm tall, especially in restoration projects facing a high likelihood of hot weather during planting and establishment.” Ronald Gardiner.