Joel Fostin has launched Fraser Island’s first ever crowd-sourcing campaign. Can you help?
Fraser Island (K’Gari) has suffered catastrophic losses. Up to 50% of the east coast’s Pandanus have perished (approximately 50,000 plants). A further 20% are likely perish without intervention within the next two months. Preserving the remaining Pandanus is crucial for successful natural regeneration, and vital for the many species of wildlife that rely on them for food and habitat. The Pandanus on Fraser Island (K’Gari) need help right now.
Inkind support from all organisations involved in managing Fraser Island and surrounding coastal areas has been negotiated, with plans in place for indigenous volunteers to save the smaller plants. Currently there is no funding available for the professional arborists needed to perform this urgent hands-on, life-saving work. But you could be part of the team that funds immediate action to save these beautiful iconic trees.
The deaths have been caused by an accidentally introduced ‘pest’ insect, the ‘Pandanus Leafhopper’ (Jamella australiae). A tiny 1mm-long native wasp, proven successful against Pandanus Leafhopper in other parts of eastern Australia, was released and has reduced leafhopper numbers to ‘safe levels’. However, many plants have declined and are likely to perish due to the extremely high leafhopper infestations that were present prior to the wasps’ establishment.
Joel’s aiming to raise $80,000 to kickstart an Urgent Action team to save the surviving yet critically affected and rapidly dying Pandanus. With funders’ help, many thousands of critically affected Pandanus can be saved and you can be a part of the journey. Strong collaboration is in place between the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (NPSR), traditional custodians (Butchulla prescribed body corporate), community and environment groups, and supporting Fraser Island tourism businesses.
Initial funds will be used immediately and directly to hire contract arborists and provide health and safety equipment for indigenous and other volunteers to perform the necessary leaf-stripping work. A film will be produced to document the fascinating ecosystem interactions and life-saving work, and to share with funders in beautiful detail the majestic natural wonders and wildlife interactions enjoyed by tourists, locals and Fraser Island’s traditional and neocustodians. For education and management purposes, a Pandanus dieback management guide-style film will be produced specifically for coastal ecosystem managers. It will be made utilising the latest film production, research and insect management techniques, and be accompanied by a Pandanus dieback management guide booklet specifically for coastal ecosystem managers.
For more information about the project or to donate, please check out Joel’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/fraserrescue. Thank you to all FINIA members that have already donated!