green drought?

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: green drought?
From: "Kirrama Wildlife Tours" <>
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 12:39:32 +1000
Good Day,

this email is in regards to the 'Green Drought'.


We live also within a short distance to Innisfail, and as our rain can be
quite localised, the figures over the last 8 month should not vary too much.

Here we go:


June 2009       8.2 mm

July 2009        9.5 mm

August 2009    0 mm

Sept. 2009       11.9 mm

Oct. 2009        128.9 mm

Nov. 2009       322.6 mm

Dec. 2009       114.2 mm

Jan. 2010        676.2 mm

Feb. 2010        549.1 mm


So we can hardly say that it was raining non-stop in the last 8 month.
Especially in the pre-wet (October - January) it is typical to have very
heavy downpours, often thunderstorms, which often only last about 10 minutes
to half an hour, and then for a couple of days not a drop until the next
one. And it's very hot and humid in between.

We wish it had been more, and in 2010 we are still way below average. We
depend here at home on a creek for our water supply, and if we don't get at
least another 1000 mm in the next 2 month we could be in trouble at the end
of the year. The tropics need a lot of rain. In earlier years (2001 - 2003),
when we had only around 2000 mm annual rainfall, all our ferns died around
our house. The reason was that with the lack of water in the rainforest the
trees dropped their leaves 

and the sun killed the ferns and other lower vegetation, which needed the
shade. That happened in late spring/early summer.


Our bananas and papaya are doing well (we only grow Papaya for the birds),
and on our trips to Innisfail we see all the farms doing well, and certainly
no dead plants or trees. Our Mango trees don't do very well as Innisfail is
not really a Mango area. We have only 2 trees and hardly get any fruit of
them, but they are alive and healthy! The majority of Mango farms are around
the Atherton Tablelands and south of Tully.


Fungal diseases and associated problems with mould are an ongoing problem in
most areas, particularly when the trees are grown too close to each other,
which doesn't allow the air to circulate around them, but it sounds like the
person who made this comment must have a real problem where she planted the
trees. It is certainly not typical for our area. Overall, it is very nice to
see the rainforest coming back after the beating it took from cyclone Larry
in March 2006.


So I would say, don't worry when you come to North Queensland, the
rainforest and everything else is alive, green and thriving.

                        Happy birding,



P.S. In 2000 we had over 5000 mm, and we haven't yet reached this figure
again since, not even with cyclone Larry. 




Kirrama Wildlife Tours

Klaus & Brenda Uhlenhut

PO BOX 1400


QLD   4860



Phone: 07  4065 5181


Kirrama Web Page:



Web Directory of Australian Birdwatching:



> Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 21:41:00 +0000
> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] green drought?
> My partner has been talking to an acquaintance who lives near Innisfail. 
> She was telling Felicia about the "green drought" in that part of the 
> world. She has a hobby plantation of paw-paws and, I think, mangoes, but 
> after 8 months of almost continuous rain all her trees have died and her 
> planation, and, she reports, other areas round about, have been taken over

> by rampant fungus as the soil is totally waterlogged.
> I'm fascinated by this idea. Can anyone comment on this? coming from 
> Canberra I've always thought of rain as an unmixed blessing. Does this 
> effect work at all in natural vegetation, or is only in modified or 
> disturbed habitats?
> John Leonard
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