Where is the Daintree Rainforest, why is it so important and what’s being done to protect it? We've responded with answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
Daintree Lowland Rainforest at Cow Bay. Photo by Dave Pinson.
Where is the Daintree Rainforest?
The Daintree Rainforest is a large area of tropical rainforest in Far North Queensland that extends from Mossman Gorge (80km north of Cairns) to Cape Tribulation (110km north of Cairns). It includes large areas of rainforest-clad mountains. Between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation, the rainforest is continuous from the mountain to the sea and when many people speak of the Daintree, they are often referring to this area, which is known as the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
The Eastern Kuku Yalanji bama (people) are the owners of the Daintree Rainforest. Their bubu (country) runs along the East Coast of Far North Queensland and it includes land and sea between Port Douglas and just south of Cooktown. The Eastern Kuku Yalanji bama have a rich cultural identity and strong spiritual connection to Daintree Rainforest. They have been caring for country for tens of thousands of years and there is much to be learned from them.
Why is the Daintree so special?
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature had this to say about the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
“Within the region, the Daintree River to Cape Tribulation coast has a special status. It is the last surviving, essentially intact, tropical lowland rainforest in Australia. It has one of the highest diversity of plant families anywhere in the world. Its rarity, fame and superlative beauty make it one of the foundations of the region’s economy. It is the only place in the world where two World Heritage Areas meet.” - IUCN
Cassowaries in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest
Isn’t the Daintree protected in a National Park and World Heritage Area?
Two-thirds of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest was excluded from inclusion in the Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area that was declared in 1988. In the Mid 1980’s a pro-development Queensland State Government had rezoned leasehold and freehold in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, enabling a developer to subdivide it into approximately 1,100 blocks. This resulted in the building of over 50 km of roads and the clearing and development of high conservation value rainforest for housing.
What are the threats to the Daintree Rainforest?
Since the 1980’s there has been constant pressure applied to further develop the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. This includes calls for a bridge or a second ferry over the Daintree River, upgrading of roads and the supply of mains electricity. This would only create conditions supportive of further inappropriate development. There are currently 170 undeveloped freehold properties with development rights in the Daintree lowlands. Building more houses on these properties would further fragment the rainforest and for that reason, further buyback of land is needed.
Land for Sale in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest
Can more land in the Daintree be protected?
Yes, more can be done to protect the Daintree Lowland Rainforest through the purchase and protection of freehold properties. In the 1990’s and 2000’s the Douglas Shire Council, and the Queensland and Australian governments all contributed financially to the purchase or ‘buyback’ of freehold land aimed at preventing development and winding back the impacts of the subdivision. For over 25 years, this has been complemented through land acquisition by local and national non-profit conservation organisations.
What is Rainforest 4 doing to save the Daintree?
We are supporting the purchase and protection of properties, both those at risk of development and others were the acquisition will improve conservation outcomes, for example by closing roads. Our project, Land Purchase to Save the Daintree is raising funds to purchase the next Daintree Rainforest property.
We are restoring rainforest through tree planting and natural regeneration. This involves restoring land that was cleared in the past decades. Our project, Road Closure to Save the Daintree is raising funds to plant trees and close roads in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
We are also calling for all three levels of government to support and fund the development of a Management Plan for the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and you can learn more here.
Can I visit the Daintree Rainforest?
Yes, it's quite easy to visit the Daintree Lowland Rainforest as tourism is established. You can make a day trip from Cairns or Port Douglas or stay for as long as you like. There are many Daintree Rainforest tourism business that you can find online.
How can I make a donation to support the protection of the Daintree Rainforest?
Yes, you can make a donation now online. You can choose to help us buy land or close down roads by planting trees.