Land Purchase to Save the Daintree Rainforest

Purchase of Lot 157 Cape Tribulation Road, Diwan in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest

 

This property was purchased in March 2021. 

 

Project Snapshot

Location: Lot 157 (Number 2223) Cape Tribulation Road, Diwan, Queensland, Australia

Action: Purchase of Lot 157 in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and protect it forever 
Area: 8.0937 hectares

Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary, Bennetts Tree-kangaroo, Endiandra cooperana, Citrus inodora

Habitat: Lowland tropical rainforest classified as Regional Ecosystem 7.3.10a “Mesophyll vine forest".

FUNDRAISING FOR THIS PROJECT WAS COMPLETED on the 12th of MARCH 2021. 

Lot 157 Cape Tribulation Road, Diwan

The Rainforest 4 Foundation and its partners are extremely pleased to announce the purchase and protection of Lot 157 Cape Tribulation Road at Diwan, in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

The Daintree Lowland Rainforest is a living museum and today thanks to the generosity of donors in Australia and around the world one of the most important locations for species diversity has been protected forever. 

While the Rainforest 4 Foundation and its partners are delighted with the purchase and protection of this property the individuals who deserve the greatest recognition and appreciation are the thousands of people who donated to raise the $404,865 needed to fund the acquisition and protection of the property. 

Kelvin Davies, the Founder of Rainforest 4 Foundation said, “Without their generous support this fantastic outcome would not have been possible. Thanks to their support, this special rainforest property is protected forever”. 

The rainforest vegetation found on Lot 157 is the grandest and most archaic of all rainforests in Australia, possessing many primitive flowering plants.

The high diversity of 270 plant species and the presence of 12 plant species listed under conservation legislation highlights the refugial endemism of this particular rainforest on Lot 157.

Kelvin said “this is one of the reasons the adjoining Daintree National Park was declared as a World Heritage Area. It’s just so important to conservation and to science in the study of the evolution of plants on Earth”.

We identified this freehold property in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest as one that should be protected from development. Lot 157 Cape Tribulation Road is 8.0937 hectares in sizend buying and protecting this property has protected habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary and other Threatened species.

 

Kristopher Kupsch surveying plants on Lot 157 in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest 

The property will be protected in the Daintree National Park and managed by the Traditional Owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji as part of the Daintree National Park Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land (CYPAL) estate. 

In 2007, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people signed a series of Indigenous Land Use Agreements with the Queensland Government and other bodies. These agreements recognise Eastern Kuku Yalanji's rights to be custodians and managers of their traditional land and that Eastern Kuku Yalanji people will be involved in managing Daintree National Park. The Eastern Kuku Yalanji are represented by the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation who manage the Jabalbina Rangers to Care for Country. 

The purchase and protection of land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is very significant to Bama (Bama meaning Rainforest Aboriginal people), and Lot 157 has been given the Kuku Yalanji language name of Kurranji (pronounced Guhd-un gee) meaning Cassowary. 

Kupa Teao - CEO of the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation said “the buyback of land is supporting Bama to get back on country, to allow them to be reconnected to country, and supporting the Traditional Owners and Elders to be part of that process.”  

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. 

Located at Diwan in the heart of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest – the oldest living rainforest on Earth - Lot 157 is home to the endangered Southern Cassowary. The rare Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo found here now also has a secure home. 

Before choosing to secure this property for conservation the Rainforest 4 Foundation engaged ecologist Kristopher Kupsch to undertake a survey. More than 270 native plants were identified and this included 12 plant species listed in the Queensland Nature Conservation Act. 

Some of the 270 species of plants on Lot 157

Conservation values of Lot 157 Cape Tribulation Road  

We had an ecologist survey the plants on Lot 157 Cape Tribulation Road in the Daintree Rainforest over two days in September 2020 and 270 native plants were identified. This included twelve plant species found on Lot 157 are listed on the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and one species is on both the State Nature Conservation Act (NCA) and the National Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).

Much of the vegetation on Lot 157 is classified as Regional Ecosystem 7.3.10a “Mesophyll vine forest. Moderately to poorly-drained alluvial plains, of moderate fertility. Lowlands of the very wet and wet zone."

Regional ecosystem 7.3.10a is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999. This vegetation type is categorized as Primary habitat for the Southern Cassowary by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM QLD).

The Queensland Government has described the special values of Regional Ecosystem 7.3.10a as: 

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”.

The Queensland Government indicates a pre-clearing extent of 60,000 ha existed and today 14,000 ha remains of RE 7.3.10a.

On the property, there are many very large trees reaching 35 meters tall with impressive buttress roots. The trees are festooned with epiphytes being ferns and orchids with large lianas and other vines cascading from above. The Spur Mahogany tree (Dysoxylum pettigrewianum) and Fan Palm (Licuala ramsayi) is a characteristic feature of these rainforests. There are also numerous endemic plants with their distribution restricted to the rainforests of the Daintree lowlands.

Many large specimens of Hopes Cycad (Lepidozamia hopei) occur on Lot 157. This species of Cycad is the largest growing in the world and has evolutionary links dating back some 200 million years. 

An ancient Hopes Cycad estimated to be over 2,000 years old. 

The ecosystem type, which is mesophyll vine forest is categorised as primary habitat for the Southern Cassowary. The Southern Cassowary has been observed on the property many times. The diversity of rainforest Laurels, an ancient lineage of the tree, are a notable feature, and Lot 157 contains 18 species, all of which are food for the Southern Cassowary.

Thank you to HalfCut

The nonprofit organisation HalfCut is getting behind the campaign to purchase Lot 157 Cape Tribulation Road and add it to the Daintree National Park. Thanks to Jimmy and Jess and all the HalfCut supporters for their help. 

Conservation of 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.

Please make a donation now online.

In the 1980’s the Queensland government approved an 1,100-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. To continue this important work, we are working to purchase freehold land in Cow Bay that will then be incorporated into the Daintree National Park. We are focusing our efforts on Cow Bay as it has some of the highest levels of biodiversity and the highest densities of Cassowaries in Australia.

Please make a donation now online.

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 birds 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.

Please make a donation now online.

A risk to the Daintree comes from 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.

Please make a donation now online.

Solution

We have identified this property at Lot 157 Cape Tribulation Road, Diwan as a priority acquisition. We are working to purchase and transfer ownership of land to the Daintree National Park. This will strengthen protection for the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, help reverse the negative impacts of rural residential development, and offer the best path forward for ensuring the world’s most ancient rainforest continues to thrive for generations to come.

Buying land in the Daintree helps us to reverse the impacts of the disastrous 1980’s rural residential subdivision. All donations are tax-deductible, and receipts will be issued. 

Please donate now. A donation of $25 will purchase and protect ten sqm of the Daintree Rainforest. 

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