Land Purchase to Save the Daintree Rainforest

Purchase of Lot 85 Cape Tribulation Road at Diwan

 

Fundraising for this property was achieved in May 2021 and settlement occured in June 2021. 

 

Project Snapshot

Location: Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland, Australia

Action: Purchase of lot 85 Cape Tribulation Road at Diwan (RP 738676) and its protection in the Daintree National Park.   

Area: 7.99 hectares

Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary and five species of plant species listed in the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992). 

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

Lot 85 Cape Tribulation Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest

The 7.99 hectares of tropical rainforest on Lot 85 Cape Tribulation Road will be protected forever thanks to donations from hundreds of generous people. Thank you to everyone who made this wonderful outcome possible. The settlement on the purchase will occur on the 12 of June.

A survey of the property identified a number of rare, threatened and endemic plants. Lot 85 Cape Tribulation Road has a total of 237 species of plants and five species of plants are listed in the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992). There are also four species of plants that are endemic to the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. Lot 85 Cape Tribulation Road is also habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary. 

Lot 85 Cape Tribulation Road is habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary

The vegetation on Lot 85 Cape Tribulation road is well developed lowland rainforest occurring on poorly drained alluvial soil dominated by Fan Palms (Licuala ramsayi) with much surface water. In areas with slightly better drainage a more complex forest assemblage with tall buttressed trees, many vines and more understorey species is found. Within this vegetation a common element is Salwood (Acacia celsa) suggesting periodic cyclone damage. Along the creek which dissects the property, additional species such as the rare Mulgrave Satinash (Syzygium xerampelinum) occurs. A common canopy species is Northern Silky Oak (Cardwellia sublimis) and Spur Mahogany (Dysoxylum pettigrewianum). The Mahogany family (Meliaceae) is well represented with 10 species as well as the Laurel family (Lauraceae) with 12 species and the Palm family (Arecaceae) with 8 species.

A significant forest of Fan Palm (Licuala ramsayi) occurs on Lot 85. This species is a characteristic species of the Wet Tropics bioregion and the majestic primordial forests of them on Lot 85 will now be protected. They provide habitat for flying mammals, frogs, and insects whilst producing copious red fruit for birds.

Fan Palms on Lot 85 Cape Tribulation Road in the Daintree Rainforest

The vegetation Regional Ecosystem (RE) mapping by The Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Herbarium is consistent with the site appraisal.

There are three vegetation types on Lot 85 that reflect differences in soil hydrology.

Much of the vegetation on Lot 85 is classified as RE 7.3.10a: Mesophyll vine forest of moderately to poorly-drained alluvial plains, of moderate fertility within the lowlands of the very wet and wet zone.

Forest type RE 7.3.10a is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

The Queensland government indicates a pre-clearing amount of 60,000 ha existed with 14,000 ha hectares remaining in 2017.

The Queensland government specifically states that this vegetation type has “Special Values” being:

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 Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa). A recently described species that is endemic to the Daintree lowlands

The second vegetation type occurring on Lot 85 is RE 7.3.4. Mesophyll vine forest with Licuala ramsayi on poorly drained alluvial plains and alluvial areas of uplands.

This forest type RE 7.3.4 is also listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

The Queensland government indicates a pre-clearing amount of 3,000 ha existed with 1,000 ha hectares remaining in 2017.  

The Queensland government specifically states that this vegetation type has “Special Values” being:

Potential habitat for NCA listed species: Austromuellera trinervia, Dendrobium nindii, Endiandra cooperana, Freycinetia marginata and Phlegmariurus phlegmarioides.

A third vegetation type occurs in the far Northeast corner of Lot 85, being RE 7.3.10c Mesophyll vine forest with scattered Archontophoenix alexandrae (feather palm) in the sub-canopy. Seasonally inundated lowland alluvial plains.

Forest type RE 7.3.10c is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

This property has been identified as essential habitat for the Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius johnsonii. The Southern Cassowary is listed as endangered under Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) and ‘threatened’ by the Queensland Government (NC Act, 1992). Protection and conservation management of the habitat of these species is important for their survival in the wild.

Thank you to HalfCut

The nonprofit organisation HalfCut is getting behind the campaign to purchase Lot 85 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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  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in Completed Projects 2021-06-03 13:49:00 +1000
  • Max Purves
    commented 2021-05-09 04:19:10 +1000
    Question: As a supporter of your admirable ongoing DAINTREE rainforest buy-back campaign I wonder would petitioning the Queensland government for financial support work?