The Community Rainforest Reforestation Program (1993–2000) was an attempt to create healthy vegetated catchments that maximize wood production, environmental protection and employment in eastern Australia. Despite a AUDIO million outlay, these goals were not fulfilled, because of limited resources and continually changing circumstances (goals, staff, institutions) that hampered the efforts of both researchers and coordinators. Both technical and managerial lessons need to be learned: blanket guidelines are rarely helpful because species, nutrition and silviculture need to be matched to each site; vigour, provenance and nutrition of nursery stock is critical to plantation success; health surveillance should not be overlooked; early growth trends may not reflect commercial outcomes; experiments should be planned and adequately funded to examine mission-critical problems thoroughly; and records should be archived, and secured in more than one location. Inability to securely maintain long-term forest research data has been a common failing in many forestry endeavours. Experience suggests that researchers should rely on their professional networks rather than their employing agency to secure data and other records contributing to a professional knowledge base.
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