The Daintree node comprises two sites (i) the Daintree Rainforest Observatory (DRO) at Cape Tribulation, comprising a long-term monitoring sites, canopy crane, and extensive researcher and teaching infrastructure and (ii) research facilities at the Daintree Discovery Centre at Cow Bay, an award winning ecotourism interpretive centre featuring a canopy tower, aerial walkway and scientific monitoring.

Daintree Rainforest Observatory Cape Tribulation

This site lies 120 km north of Cairns. The Daintree Rainforest Observatory was established with ARC Infrastructure funding (REIFP) in 1998 and the 1 ha census plot was established in 2000 along with the installation of a construction crane in the forest (referred to as the Australian Canopy Crane).

Around 200 scientists have worked on site covering a range of topics from characterising bacteria in the soil, IR mapping the canopy to radio-tracking Melomys cervinipes in the canopy at night. The biophysical environment has been extensively studied. A weather station was installed in 1999, flux station in 2001, soil pit in 2007 and bores in 2008.

Site Details

  • Forest type: Complex Mesophyll Vine Forest (CMVF) 20 – 35 m canopy
  • Soils: acidic, dystrophic, brown dermosol and colluvial gravels
  • Elevation: 65 m
  • Rainfall: 5143 mm
  • T mean: 24.4 C

Infrastructure

  • laboratory/accommodation complex
  • manager’s quarters
  • solar powered facility
  • all weather access road

SuperSite installations

  • SuperSites core 1 ha (100 m x 100 m) is located within the fetch of the flux tower and is the focal site of recurrent monitoring
  • carbon dioxide and water flux station (OzFlux eddy flux covariance)
  • weather station
  • water quality sensors
  • gauging station to measure discharge
  • soil water content, soil water potential, soil temperature sensors
  • dendrometer bands
  • phenocams (2 above canopy, 1 under canopy)
  • sap flow system
  • acoustic sensor
  • logging bore

Additional installations

  • canopy crane
  • large scale sap flow system

More at: http://www.jcu.edu.au/daintree

Photosphere view from inside the rainforest at the DRO (photo M. Liddell)

Danielle Creek and Lingling Zhu (from Owen Atkin's lab at ANU) carrying out plant physiology measurements at the crane site
(Photo P. Byrnes)

Daintree Discovery Centre, Cow Bay

The The Daintree Discovery Centre at Cow Bay is an award-winning ecotourism interpretive centre that allows visitors to access the rainforest canopy on a 23 m canopy tower and aerial walkway.

Site Details

  • Forest type: Complex Mesophyll Vine Forest (CMVF) 20 – 35 m canopy
  • Soils: acidic, dystrophic, brown dermosol
  • Elevation: 86 m
  • Rainfall: 4425 mm
  • T mean: 24.0 C
SuperSite installations
  • 1 ha (100 m x 100 m) is located within the fetch of the flux tower and is the focal site of recurrent monitoring
  • carbon dioxide and water flux station (Ozflux eddy flux covariance)
  • weather station
  • phenocams (3 above canopy, 1 undercanopy)
  • soil water content, soil water potential, soil temperature sensors
  • logging bores

The tower hosts OzFlux eddy covariance instrumentation, weather station and phenocams and the CSIRO monitors a 1 ha plot of rainforest on site.