Daintree Buyback Lot 93

LOT 93 CAPE TRIBULATION ROAD, DIWAN IN THE DAINTREE LOWLAND RAINFOREST

PROJECT SNAPSHOT

Action: Purchase Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road at Diwan (RP 738999)

Area: 8.09 hectares

Location: Diwan, Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland

Vegetation type: Lowland tropical rainforest classified as Simple-complex mesophyll to notophyll vine forest on moderate to poorly-drained alluvial plains of moderate fertility

Regional Ecosystem 7.3.10a is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

Endangered Ecological Community: Lowland tropical rainforest of the Wet Tropics ecological community is listed in the Endangered Category under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii), Native Spiral Ginger (Cheilocostus potierae), Noah’s Walnut (Endiandra microneura), Climbing Pandan (Freycinetia percostata), Ant Plant (Myrmecodia beccarii), Malayan Brighteye (Torenia polygonoides).

The fundraising for this project has been achieved. Thank you to all of the wonderful donors. An update on the purchase and protection of the property will be provided soon. 

 

Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest

The high biodiversity and threatened species on Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road at Diwan identified this property as a high priority for acquisition.

In 1982 the Queensland government approved a 1,136-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. Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road is one of these properties.

Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road is an 8.09-hectare freehold property is located at Diwan in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. It was created through the subdivision of land that occurred in 1982. To prevent Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road is being acquired and included in the Daintree National Park Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land (CYPAL) estate.  

Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road is located 15 km north of the Daintree River and another 17km to Cape Tribulation. If you are visiting the Daintree this is an easy property to find and you won't need a 4x4 vehicle. It's located on the western side of the road immediately north of Hutchinsons Creek and opposite the Alexandra Bay State School. The property has a boundary with the Daintree National Park and three other properties we have purchased for conservation are located within 1 km.

Hutchinson Creek in the Daintree Rainforest

Lot 93 has a 375 m frontage on Hutchinson Creek

CONSERVATION VALUES

Before we made a commitment to purchase this Daintree Rainforest property for conservation we had ecologists undertake a comprehensive survey to confirm the conservation values.

A vegetation survey identified 258 native plant species including five plant species listed on the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992. There are also 4 endemic plant species that have their distribution largely restricted to the Daintree lowlands. 

The survey identified the Malayan Brighteye (Torenia polygonoides). There are only six records of this plant in Australia. We were also able to record a range extension for the Sapindaceae tree species Rhysotoechia flavescens. The previously known northern limit of this species was from the Daintree village, while its distribution extends south to near Tully.

Other plants of importance on Lot 93 include the Hope’s Cycad (Lepidozamia hopei). This species of Cycad is the largest growing in the world and was once utilised by Aboriginal people as a food source. It has evolutionary links dating back some 200 million years and along with other ancient species form some of the reasons why the Wet Tropics World Heritage area has been afforded protection within the National Parks estate.

Hope’s Cycad (Lepidozamia hopei)

Hopes Cycad on Lot 93 with cone developing on this female plant

Lot 93 is located on Hutchinson Creek which flows off Thornton Peak. This area is a centre for the potential evolution of new species. During the vegetation survey, the botanist and ecologist identified a potentially new species of Bolwarra (Eupomatia) was identified from Lot 93 and additional investigations will now follow.  

This property provides habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary. Many food plants for the Cassowary are present on the lot in the form of Laurels (Lauraceae), Mahogany (Meliaceae) and several species of Figs, Palms and fleshy Myrtaceous plants. Regional ecosystem 7.3.10a is listed as Essential Cassowary habitat by the Queensland government. The vegetation on the creek edge possesses large specimens of Kuranda Quandong (Elaeocarpus bancroftii), Northern Silky Oak (Cardwellia sublimis), Spur Mahogany (Dysoxylum pettigrewianum), Candlenut (Aleurites rockinghamensis), Blackbean (Castanospermum australe), Fan Palms (Licuala ramsayi), Alexander Palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae), Damson Plum (Terminalia microcarpa) and Briars Silky Oak (Musgravea heterophylla).

Evidence of the Southern Cassowary using the property was confirmed by dung. Cassowaries are regularly sighted in the adjoining Daintree National Park and on nearby properties.

An aquatic ecology survey was undertaken in Hutchinson Creek on the 375 m of the frontage of Lot 93 and also 600 m upstream, and about 200 m downstream of the property. The most significant finding of the survey was the discovery of a small population of Daintree Rainbowfish (Cairnsichthys bitaeniatus). This species is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, where it is classified as Critically Endangered. This species is known only from some small tributary streams of Hutchinson and Cooper creeks.

Hutchinson Creek in the Daintree Rainforest 

Endangered Ecological Community

The Daintree Lowland Rainforest itself has now been identified as part of an Endangered Ecological Community. In November 2021 the Australian Government listed the lowland tropical rainforest of the Wet Tropics ecological community, in the Endangered Category under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The listing is effective as of Friday 26 November 2021 and includes the Wet Tropics of North Queensland, from near Ingham (just south of the Cardwell Range) in the south to north around Cape Tribulation. While now listed as Endangered the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is still not fully protected. The freehold properties in the Daintree lowland remain at risk from rural residential development. 

Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road at Diwan

Lot 93 Cape Tribulation Road adjoins the Daintree National Park 

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 1,136-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. 

STRONGER TOGETHER

The project to purchase and protect land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is a partnership involving the Rainforest 4 Foundation, Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, and fellow non-profit HalfCut. We recognise that we are Stronger Together and raise funds for the buyback of properties in the Daintree Rainforest and their management for conservation.