PURCHASE OF LOT 8 BUCHANAN CREEK ROAD, COW BAY IN THE DAINTREE LOWLAND RAINFOREST
Action: Purchase and protection of Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road (Lot 8 RP 737 397)
Area: 1. hectare
Location: Cow Bay, Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland
Vegetation type: Regional Ecosystem 7.3.10a: Mesophyll vine forest on moderately to poorly-drained alluvial plains, of moderate fertility. Lowlands of the very wet and wet zone. RE 7.3.10a is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.
Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary, Macleay's Fig-parrot, Noah's Walnut, China Camp Laurel, Grey's Walnut
Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest
Purchase of Daintree's LOT 8 for conservation.
The high biodiversity and spectacular tropical rainforest at Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road justify its immediate purchase and protection. The Daintree Lowland Rainforest is a living museum and Lot 8 Buchannan Creek Road is an important refuge for biodiversity.
Lot 8 Buchannan Creek Road at Cow Bay shares a boundary with the Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area. Undeveloped freehold properties in the Daintree should not be left in the ownership of people who would destroy the rainforest. Development for housing fragments the rainforest and has negative on impacts the surrounding rainforest.
This property is of equal value to the adjoining Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area.
Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road could have been developed for housing subject to approval by the Douglas Shire Council just as nearby properties have been in the past. Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road was created through the subdivision of land in 1982. It has been resold a number of times. Fortunately, the multiple owners failed to realise their homebuilding dreams. The property is reasonably flat and in preparing for building a previous owner created a road and cleared a house pad. Now we have the opportunity to purchase this property and ensure the rainforest is protected from the threat of development and the small clearing restored to wildlife habitat.
Kelvin Davies with Fan Palms on Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road
Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road is located at Cow Bay in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. Buying land in this location helps us to reverse the impacts of the disastrous 1980’s rural residential subdivision. We are focusing our efforts at Cow Bay as scientists have identified this area as providing an “Essential habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary”.
Cassowaries have been sighted on Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road and on nearby properties.
Southern Cassowary in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest
Our survey of Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road identified the presence of the Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa) which grows as an understorey shrub to 3m in height. It is endemic to the rainforests of the Daintree lowlands and the large majority of records come from the vicinity of the Cow Bay - Cape Tribulation area. It is a recently described species formally recognised in 2007 as Haplostichanthus ramiflorus and then redescribed as Polyalthia xanthocarpa in 2012.
Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus
We found many specimens of the Black Plam (Normanbya normanbyi) on Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road. This single-stemmed palm grows up to 30 m tall and the fruits are eaten by the endangered Southern Cassowary.
In 1988 the Daintree National Park was expanded and was included in the Wet Tropics Work Heritage Area. This should have seen the rainforest at Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road protected forever. However, two-thirds of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, the land between the Daintree River and Cow Bay had been carved up for a rural residential subdivision in 1982 and was excluded from World Heritage listing.
Protecting Lot 8 Buchanan Creek Road at Cow Bay is a fantastic outcome for conservation as it will prevent another house from being built in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
Fruit of the Black Palm
Lot 8 Buchannan Creek Road
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE DAINTREE LOWLAND RAINFOREST
The Daintree Lowland Rainforest is one of the oldest rainforests on Earth having survived undisturbed for over 120 million years. It holds exceptionally high biodiversity and conservation value and is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest remaining in Australia.
Rainforests once covered much of eastern Australia, however, as conditions became drier the rainforest contracted and today the Daintree provides a refuge for many unique species. The Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, Musky Rat-kangaroo, and the Southern Cassowary can be found here, as well a number of endemic plant species that have retained the same primitive characteristics of their ancestors. The flora of the Daintree contains an almost complete record of the evolution of plant life on Earth, including extremely ancient flowering plant families found nowhere else.
In 1982 the Queensland government approved an 1,137-lot rural residential subdivision in the Daintree. This resulted in two-thirds of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest being excluded from protection in the Daintree National Park and Wet Tropics World Heritage Area that was declared in 1988. The development that followed has resulted in fragmentation of the rainforest with the construction of roads and the building of hundreds of houses. Settlement has introduced exotic plants that have become weeds and domestic dogs and traffic that are a threat to wildlife. Because the land in question is in private ownership, the only option to resolve the issue has been the purchase and protection of additional lands to expand Daintree National Park.
Our vision for the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is to buy back land to remove the threat of further development and to address the impact of past development while supporting the Traditional Owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people in caring for country.
While we purchase land at risk of development for housing we also purchase other freehold properties without development approvals to reverse the impacts of the disastrous subdivision by closing and revegetating obsolete roads.
Since 1992 non-profit organisations have purchased seventy-five properties for conservation.
Threat to Wildlife, Climate People and Planet
Daintree Rainforest is regarded as an iconic national treasure for its unique evolutionary history and tremendous conservation value. A number of rare and endangered species are found within Daintree National Park, including the Southern Cassowary, large flightless bird that in Australia are found only in the wet tropical rainforests of Queensland. Southern Cassowaries consume over 150 different fruits and play a vital role as seed dispersers in the rainforest. Due to the destruction and fragmentation of their rainforest habitats, these large charismatic birds are classified as Vulnerable to extinction.
More than 430 other bird species have also been recorded in Daintree National Park, including rare or range-restricted species like the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and the Lesser Sooty Owl, making the Daintree a Globally Important Bird Area. Many unique marsupials, reptiles, and amphibians are also found in the Daintree Rainforest including the Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, Musky Rat-kangaroo, Spotted-tailed Quoll, and Boyd’s Forest Dragon.
A risk to the Daintree comes from the development for housing and fragmentation of the rainforest, which jeopardises the integrity of the ecosystem with increased human traffic and the introduction of exotic species. Expanding settlement results in the spread of exotic plants that become weeds and stress to wildlife from human traffic and introduced dogs. Further buyback of land for conservation is required urgently as there are calls for an upgrade to Cape Tribulation Road, to build a bridge over the Daintree River, and to provide a reticulated electricity supply that would all lead to further development.
The purchase of additional properties will prevent further development to these sensitive areas while protecting and restoring critical habitat for wildlife. It will also allow for winding back past development through the closing of roads and the revegetation of land as habitat for Threatened species.