Daintree Road Closures


Location: Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland, Australia
Action: Road Closure and Revegetation between November 2018 and April 2019. 

Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary, Bennetts Tree-kangaroo
Habitat: Lowland Tropical Rainforest
Threats: Development, domestic dogs, weeds, illegal camping and dumping
Our Partner: Daintree Life

In the mid-1980’s the Queensland government approved a rural residential subdivision of 1,136 lots in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest in Far North Queensland. This resulted in two-thirds of the 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 resulted in the construction of over 50 km of roads and the building of hundreds of houses. Through successful land buyback programs that began in 1992, some of these roads can now be closed as all of the surrounding lands have been purchased and added to the Daintree National Park.

Between November 2018 and April 2019, five service roads in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest were closed and revegetated with the planting of 4,692 trees by Daintree Life. This was supported by the Douglas Shire Council. The planting also helped heal gaps or ‘scars’ in the rainforest canopy and as the rainforest trees grow they'll provide habitat for wildlife including the Southern Cassowaries, Bennett’s Tree-kangaroos, and Boyd’s Forest Dragons. 

Service Road 1 (DL043B south). Before: Site was prepared and ready for planting in November 2018.

Daintree Rainforest tree planting

During. Volunteers planting out this service road.

Road closure in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest

After: 1,146 trees successfully established. 

 Service Road 2 (DL042A). Planted in January 2019 with 1,060 trees.

Daintree Road Closure

 Service Road 3 (DL042B) Planted in January 2019 with 760 trees.

 Service Road 4 (DL042D South). Planted in January 2019 with 181 trees. 

Service Road 4 (DLO43A North) Planted in January 2019 with 560 trees. 

Road Closure April 2019

Service Road 5 (DL042C). Planted in April 2019 with 985 trees. 

Threat to Wildlife, Climate People and Planet

The creation of a network of roads in the 1980’s to support development in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest was an ecological disaster. Settlement of some of these properties have fragmented the rainforest, introduced exotic plants that have become weeds and domestic dogs and traffic that are a threat to wildlife. Land purchase in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest for conservation has been occurring since 1993 and hundreds of properties have been acquired by nonprofit organisations and governments. The purchase of a significant number of strategically located properties has made some roads obsolete and we can now begin closing and revegetate roads that are no longer required and wind back these negative impacts of development. It will also restore rainforest habitat for wildlife including the Southern Cassowaries, Spectacled Flying-fox, Striped Possums, Bennetts Tree-kangaroos and Musky Rat-kangaroos. Other benefits from the road closure and revegetation include improved tourism amenity, cessation illegal dumping and camping and removal of the burden on Douglas Shire Council of costly maintenance.

The Solution

We are closing and revegetating unused service roads. This will help create a buffer for the Daintree National Park and increase habitat for wildlife. 

Project partners

Our partners, Daintree Life managed the planting of the trees and will also undertake maintenance for three years to ensure they survive and thrive. All of the trees are propagated from seeds sourced from nearby trees and the planting is designed to achieve canopy closure to exclude weeds. Daintree Life also had the support of Reforest Now and the Foundation for Australia's Most Endangered Species Ltd. The Rainforest 4 Foundation is supporting Daintree Life to maintain the planted trees for the next three years to ensure they survive. 

The Douglas Shire Council has approved the closure of these service roads.  

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