Land Purchase to Save the Daintree Rainforest




Action: Purchase and protection of Lot 110 Fan Palm Road (Lot 110 RP 738992) 

Area: 8.098 hectares 

Location: Diwan, Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland

Vegetation type: Fan Palm dominated tropical rainforest classified as Regional Ecosystem 7.3.4. 

Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary, Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo, and seven species of plants - China Camp Laurel (Beilschmiedia castrisinensis), Gray’s Walnut (Endiandra grayi), Noahs Walnut (Endiandra microneura), Climbing Pandan (Freycinetia percostata) Small grass (Isachne sharpii), Ant Plant (Myrmecodia beccarii),  Daintree Ryparosa (Ryparosa kurrangii) are listed on the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Zia with Fan Palms on Lot 110 Palm Road

Fan Palms (Licuala ramsayi) in the Daintree Rainforest are exceptionally beautiful and where they dominate, the rainforest is stunning. This is one of Australia’s most beautiful landscapes and thanks to the support of many generous donors Lot 110 Palm Road is now protected forever. 

Fan Palm dominated tropical rainforest is classified as Regional Ecosystem 7.3.4. The Queensland government indicates “very little of this habitat (RE 7.3.4) remains” with an estimated 3,000 hectares prior to clearing and 1,000 hectares remaining in 2019. This Fan Palm dominated vegetation type solely occurs between Cardwell and Cape Tribulation and what remains, less than half is within reserves.

Fan Palm dominated rainforest exemplifies the World Heritage criteria for listing which states, natural areas must

“contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance”.

Lot 110 Palm Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest

A subdivision was carved into the Daintree Lowland Rainforest in 1982. This created Palm Road and dozens of freehold properties. Then houses were built and occupied bringing domestic dogs and exotic plants. This has damaged one of the most significant remnants of Fan Palm dominated tropical rainforest. In 1988 the Daintree National Park was expanded and was included in the Wet Tropics Work Heritage Area. This should have seen Lot 110 Palm Road protected forever. However, two thirds of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, the land between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation had been carved up for a rural residential subdivision in 1982 and was excluded from World Heritage listing. 

Lot 110 Palm Road is located in Diwan in the heart of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. The property has a boundary on three sides with the Daintree National Park estate. 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 Diwan as scientists have identified this area as being the highest priority for conservation.

Fan Palm dominated rainforest on Lot 110 Palm Road

Fan Palm dominated rainforests provide habitat for a number of rare and threatened flora and fauna, including the Southern Cassowary and Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo. Cassowaries are frugivores and the fruits of tropical rainforest plants represent 98% of their diet (they also eat invertebrates and fungi). As Fan Palms produce fruits their fruits between January and March they are particularly important to Cassowaries as many other plants are not fruiting at that time. 

Fan Palm dominated tropical rainforest now protected forever.

Before we made a commitment to purchasing Lot 110 Palm Road we thoroughly assessed its value to conservation. Consideration is given to biodiversity status (whether there is presence of endangered, threatened, or of concern vegetation), proximity to settled lots, canopy coverage, proximity to existing protected areas, and risk of future development. This assessment was undertaken by our conservation staff and specialist ecologist and botanist.

A vegetation survey by ecologist Kristopher Kupsch was undertaken on Lot 110 (RP 738992) Fan Palm Road, Diwan, on the 30th of April 2021.

The vegetation survey confirmed Lot 110 Palm Road as one of the most important locations for the conservation of Fan Palm dominated tropical rainforest. The importance of the property has also been confirmed by the presence of seven plants that are listed as Threatened species under conservation legislation and the existence of a number of regionally endemic species. Of particular importance was the occurrence of one of Australia’s rarest plants, Isachne sharpii (no common name), which is highly localised and Endangered. It was first identified in 2001 from specimens found less than 1km from Lot 110 and was only confirmed as a new species in 2010. 

Fan Palm dominated vegetation, only 1,000 hectares survive

The Fan Palm vegetation on Lot 110 Palm Road has rainforest tree species interspersed and often emerging above the Palms. The occasional tree species include, Northern Silky Oak (Cardwellia sublimis), Kuranda Quandong (Elaeocarpus bancroftii), Cassowary Plum (Cerbera floribunda), Golden Bouquet tree (Deplanchea tetraphylla). There are five species within the Pandanaceae (Pandanus family) within 3 genera and 8 species of Palms. The property has 199 species of native plant and this very high diversity of species and the presence of 7 plant species listed under conservation legislation highlights the importance of preserving Lot 110 Palm Road.

Small areas on the very wet lowlands, especially between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation, harbour plant species which are extremely restricted and uncommon. Many areas of this ecosystem are considered refugial in nature and are local centers of endemism. Many representatives of primitive families of flowering plants are present, including the monotypic family Idiospermaceae. The ecosystem is the habitat for many threatened plant species”.

International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 

Fan Palm dominate rainforest with emergent Kuranda Quandong

You can learn more about our project Land Purchase to Save the Daintree here

Please make a donation now to help purchase the next Daintree Rainforest property. 


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