A Chopper Ride into the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

DenisonHelicopterBy Head Hunter James Wood

Collecting in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. The Denison Range, just above Lake Rhona.

1. Location details, where is it, how did you get there, how remote is this location?

Denison Range, just above Lake Rhona. Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National park. The site is day walk to get to and therefore is difficult to collect from as the weather changes from day to day. For this reason we reached the site using a helicopter.

2. What are the purposes / aims of your plant hunt?

Collect good quality, genetically representative, conservation sized seed collections.

3. Is this a unique program, what’s so special about it?

The seedbank program has not collected on the Denison Range before.

4. What do you need to take with you?

Standard field clothing and walking boots. Collecting kit: cloth bags, paper envelopes, field datasheets, gps, gloves, large zip-lock bags, secateurs and a trowel. Lunch and a few nibbles. For a helicopter we also take tents, additional clothing and food in case we get stranded due to bad weather or machinery failure.

5. What limiting factors influence your ability to do this work? (weather, access, transport, money, etc)

The weather is a huge factor in trying to collect seed. Cloud cover hampers the use of a helicopter to get us to the site. Cold, wet or windy weather makes it very difficult to collect seed particularly from small plants where you don’t move very much and therefore aren’t generating very much body heat.

6. How long are you there for?

Just over 5 hours.

7. How many people do you take and why are they there?

The helicopter we use allows us to take 5 people into the field. This is good as it allows us to sample broadly across the target site and sample from a large number of individuals.

8. Is it very expensive to go on a plant hunt?

The use of a helicopter to the site is expensive.

9. What Tasmanian organisations are involved in your plant hunt?

Helicopter hired from Helicopter Resources. The collecting crew are composed of staff from the botanic gardens and Biodiversity and Conservation Branch of DPIPWE.

Keep hunting…