LAND PURCHASE TO SAVE THE DAINTREE RAINFOREST

PROJECT SNAPSHOT

Action: Purchase and protection of Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road (Lot 11 RP 737398)

Area: 1.2 hectares

Location: Cow Bay, Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland

Vegetation type: Lowland tropical rainforest classified as Regional Ecosystem 7.3.20a

Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary, China Camp Laurel, Gray’s Walnut, Noah’s Walnut

FUNDRAISING FOR THE PURCHASE OF THIS PROPERTY WAS COMPLETED IN DECEMBER 2021. 

Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road in Cow Bay 

Thank you to everyone who contributed gifts to help raise the funds required for the purchase and protection of Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road. We are especially grateful to Little Locals - Early Learning who made saving this Daintree Rainforest property their community project in 2021. 

Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road at Cow Bay shares a boundary with the Daintree National Park. The property also has many of the natural values that supported the national park being declared a World Heritage Area in 1988. Our survey of Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road identified 185 species of native plants including three Threatened species listed on the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992. They are the China Camp Laurel (Beilschmiedia castrisinensis), Gray’s Walnut (Endiandra grayi), and Noah’s Walnut (Endiandra microneura). You can read information from the survey undertaken by our ecologist here

Lot 11 has also been mapped as essential Cassowary habitat by the Queensland Government. There are many species of native Laurels which provide fruits for Cassowaries. See photos from the property here

Kelvin Davies at Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road. 

The vegetation community on Lot 11 is Regional Ecosystem 3.3.10a. This forest type is listed as ‘Of Concern’ under the Vegetation Management Act 1999, which makes it extremely precious in our conservation mission.

The Queensland Government specifically states that this vegetation type has “Special values”, citing:

“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 centres 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.”

Lot 11 has also been mapped as essential Cassowary habitat by the Queensland Government. There are many species of native Laurels which provide fruits for Cassowaries and evidence of them using the property was confirmed by footprints and dung. 

The endangered Southern Cassowary

Vulnerable frogs found near Lot 11

The vulnerable Tapping Grey-eyed Frog (Litoria serrata) and the endangered Common Mist Frog (Litoria rheocola) have both been previously identified within 50 metres of Lot 11. These two threatened frogs favour fast-flowing streams and also spend a portion of their lives in trees. 

Three Threatened plants species

Three plant species found on Lot 11 are listed on the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992. They are:

     1.     China Camp Laurel (Beilschmiedia castrisinensis) - NCA 1992: Near threatened

The China Camp Laurel only grows in the Daintree Rainforest between the Daintree River and the Bloomfield River, where it is locally common. 

The species was found on Lot 11 as a single seedling within Cassowary droppings. It is common within the surrounding forests of Cow Bay. The seeds are the largest of all native Laurels and rely on dispersal by Cassowaries and potentially very localised dispersal by Musky Rat-kangaroos. 

     2.     Gray’s Walnut (Endiandra grayi) - NCA 1992: Vulnerable

Gray’s Walnut was found on Lot 11 as a single seedling. This is a large tree only found between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation in lowland rainforest below 40m above sea level (asl). Its large seeds are dispersed solely by the Southern Cassowary. 

As with all large fruiting Walnut (Endiandra) species, Gray’s Walnut is food for the Southern Cassowary. We must therefore preserve the habitat for both the tree and the bird.

Gray’s Walnut

     3.     Noah’s Walnut (Endiandra microneura) - NCA 1992: Near threatened

Noah's Walnut was found on Lot 11 as young seedlings germinating within Cassowary dung. 

This species is only found naturally within the Daintree Rainforest predominantly north of the Daintree River and south of Cape Tribulation.

This tree is noticeable in the forest as it produces a vibrant display of limp, new, red leaves. The large oblong yellow fruits often litter the ground beneath parent trees. Cassowaries, fruit bats and ground dwelling mammals such as Musky Rat-kangaroos (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus) disperse the fruits.

Noah's Walnut

Other significant plants on Lot 11

     1.     Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa)

The Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus is common in the understorey on Lot 11. This species colonises regenerating forests following the establishment of a suitable shady humid understorey. Its occurrence on Lot 11 indicates good levels of natural regeneration. 

This is an understorey shrub of up to 3m in height. It is restricted to the rainforests of the Daintree lowlands, but is found as far south as the Daintree village. It is a recently described species formally recognised in 2007 as Haplostichanthus ramiflorus and then redescribed as Polyalthia xanthocarpa in 2012.

Kelvin Davies with Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus

     2.     Daintree Satinash (Syzygium monospermum)

The locally common Daintree Satinash was identified as seedlings on Lot 11, brought to the site by Cassowaries. The tree is ‘myrmecophilus’ in that the interior of its trunk is much like an ant plant with myriads of chambers that ants inhabit. 

This species is only found in lowland rainforests between Cape Tribulation and Julatten. The tree provides food for the endangered Southern Cassowary. Owing to the size of its large white fruit that it produces straight from the trunk, few other animals other than possibly fruit bats would disperse its seeds.

The cauliflorous showy flowers are produced immediately from the often-single trunk of the parent tree. As with most Australian flowering trees, nectar is produced from a stamen dense flower.

This type of flower is favoured by honeyeaters, marsupials and insects. 

Daintree Satinash

THANK YOU TO LITTLE LOCALS - EARLY LEARNING 

We are especially grateful to Little Locals - Early Learning who made saving this Daintree Rainforest property their community project in 2021. Thank you to the Little Locals families whohelpedto raise funds to purchase and protect Lot 11 Buchanan Creek Road. 

THANK YOU TO HALFCUT

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.

Thanks to HalfCut and their wonderful supporters for their significant contribution to the purchase of Lot 242 White Beech Road. 

 

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