Lot 390 in the Daintree Q&A

We’ve provided answers to the most frequently asked questions on the purchase and protection of Lot 390 Maple Road in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.  

A developer subdivided the Daintree Lowland Rainforest creating 1,100 blocks. 

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 rezoned leasehold and freehold in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, enabling a developer to subdivide it into 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. The freehold land between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation has World Heritage values and should be protected in the Daintree National Park.

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Why is the Daintree important?

The Daintree Lowland Rainforest is the oldest rainforests on Earth, having existed continuously 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 Australia, however, as conditions became drier the rainforest contracted to remnants along the east coast. The Daintree Lowland Rainforest provides a refuge for many unique species and the Southern Cassowary, Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo and Musky Rat-kangaroo and the can be found here. 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.

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Reversing the impacts of development.

The buyback of land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest began in 1992 when Bush Heritage purchase a property in Palm Road. Since then nonprofit conservation organisations have acquired 75 properties. The Douglas Shire Council, Queensland, and Australian governments have all contributed financially to the purchase or ‘buyback’ of freehold land aimed at preventing further development and in winding back the impacts of the subdivision. 

The 2006 Douglas Shire Planning Scheme removed the development rights from over 330 vacant properties. The Council recognised that whilst these properties are outside the World Heritage Area, they shared many of the same natural attributes and there was a need to cap development to improve conservation outcomes. This was supported by the Queensland State Government who committed $15 million for the Daintree Buyback Scheme. This money was used to purchase freehold properties suitable for inclusion as national park or other conservation tenures. Owners of these properties were also given the option to retain ownership and receive financial compensation for the loss of development rights. It's estimated fifteen property owners accepted this option. 

The 2006 Douglas Shire Planning Scheme did not remove the development rights of all the undeveloped freehold properties in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. Approximately 170 undeveloped freehold properties with development rights are unprotected and at risk of development.  

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What about Lot 390 Maple Road?

We are purchasing Lot 390 to fulfill our vision of the conservation of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. This requires the buyback of all undeveloped freehold properties in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. Not only do we want to see no further development, but we also want the negative impacts of the rural residential subdivision to be reversed. It's necessary to buyback all undeveloped freehold land for several reasons, it enables the closure of roads, brings more land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest under the one management regime and ensures the highest level of protection by including land in the Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area. We've provided more information here

Lot 390 Maple Road, Cow Bay, is a freehold property. It was not included in the expanded Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area that was declared in 1988. Lot 390 Maple Road had its development rights removed in the 2006 Douglas Shire Planning Scheme, however, unlike other properties in Maple Road, it was not purchased and protected by the Queensland Government for inclusion in the Daintree National Park. The Queensland Government consider Lot 390 Maple Road as a priority for acquisition, however, they say they have no longer have funds available for land purchase in the Daintree Rainforest. 

This property has been owned by one couple for 30 years. They’ve enjoyed visiting and camping on the property many times over the years. They never disturbed the rainforest in any way and the vegetation is in pristine condition. Now that they are both in the 80’s and they feel it’s time to sell they want to see it the rainforest protected forever. They consulted a real estate agent who advised them that the Rainforest 4 Foundation might be interested in buying it for conservation. The owners accepted an offer of $25,000 which is a similar price to what they paid for it. We are grateful that the current owners of Lot 390 Maple Road have given us the first option to purchase this land so we can add it to the Daintree National Park.

The Douglas Shire Council does not have Lot 390 Maple Road zoned for development. While this is not expected to change anytime soon, all it would take is a decision by Douglas Shire Council to rezone the property. As the level of protection this freehold property currently has is limited, we want to add it to the Daintree National Park where it will have the highest level of protection available. This will also help to wind back the impacts of past development and improve conservation of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

The 1980’s subdivision fragmented the Daintree Rainforest by creating 1,100 freehold properties and over 50 km of roads. Our vision is to purchase as many of these properties as we can. We are adding them to the Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area, which will provide the highest available level of protection in bringing them under one conservation management regime. It will enable the potential for the permanent closure of roads which supports our vision for rewilding the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Lot 390 Maple Road with a view to the Daintree National Park - Steven Nowakowski

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Natural values of Lot 390 Maple Road. 

Lot 390 Maple Road has exceptional natural values. The Lowland Tropical Rainforest vegetation is classified as 7.11.1a Mesophyll vine forest. It is at the base of foothills on metamorphic soil in very wet and wet rainfall zones. This forest type is listed as "Essential Habitat" for the Endangered Southern Cassowary under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

A vegetation survey was undertaken of Lot 390 Maple Road, Cow Bay, on the 8th of July 2019 by ecologist Kristopher Kupsch. He found the vegetation on the lot is well developed and luxuriant of high diversity with 207 species of native plant identified within the survey. Threatened plant species found on the property include Noahs Walnut (Endiandra microneura) and Climbing Pandanus (Pandanus percostata). 

The assemblage of species within the primitive plant family “Lauraceae” was significant with 15 species identified, all of which provide food for the Endangered Southern Cassowary. Two Lauraceae species, the Noahs Walnut (Endiandra microneura) and the China Camp Laurel (Beilschmiedia castrisinensis) are restricted to the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. They can grow into very large trees and their seeds are solely dispersed by the Southern Cassowary.

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The property has been owned by the same couple since the 1980's 25 years and they’ve never wanted to see the rainforest developed for housing. Now it’s time for them to sell they’d like to see the rainforest protected forever. The owners consulted a real estate agent who advised them that the Rainforest 4 Foundation might be interested in buying it for conservation which of course we were. The owners accepted an offer of $25,000 which is the price they paid for it. We are grateful that the current owners of Lot 305 Cypress Road have given us the first option to purchase this land. 

Buying and protecting Lot 390 Maple Road will be a fantastic outcome for conservation as it connects to the Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area. 

The 1980’s subdivision fragmented the Daintree Rainforest by creating 1,100 freehold properties and over 50 km of roads. Our vision is to purchase as many of these properties as we can. Over time this will create the potential for the permanent closure of roads which supports our vision for rewilding the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Most of the other undeveloped freehold properties in Maple Road have already been purchased for conservation. Lot 390 Maple Road adjoins the Kaba-kada Nature Refuge. This property has a house on it, however, as a declared Nature Refuge, the surrounding rainforest is protected by a perpetual covenant on the title that is binding on all future owners. 

Kaba-kada Nature Refuge in the Daintree Rainforest

Kaba-kada Nature Refuge in Maple Road Cow Bay.

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Supporting more road closures.

Through successful land buyback programs that began in 1992, hundreds of properties have been purchased and added to the Daintree National Park. This has enabled some of the service roads created for subdivision to be closed. With the approval of the Douglas Shire Council, five service roads were closed between November 2018 and April 2019 and planted back to rainforest. When more properties are purchased it increases the potential of more road closures. The Queensland Government has identified Cow Bay as a conservation priority and between 2006 and 2008 they purchased most of the properties in Cow Bay to add them to the national park. Lot 305 Cypress Road was not one of the properties secured for conservation at that time. 

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A road in Cow Bay that was closed and revegetated in November 2018 - Dave Pinson

What’s so special about Lot 305 Cypress Road?

A vegetation survey was undertaken of Lot 305 Cypress Road, Cow Bay on the 2nd September 2019 by ecologist and botanist Kristopher Kupsch. This property has 145 species of plants, including the vulnerable Ant Plant and Climbing Pandanus, as well as the near-threatened Thornton Aspen and Noah’s Walnut. The block has also been identified as essential habitat for the endangered habitat Southern Cassowary.

The vegetation on Lot 305 Cypress Road is Lowland Tropical Rainforest classified as RE 7.3.7 and is dominated by Fan Palms (Licuala ramsayi). This type of rainforest is listed as “Endangered” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999. The Queensland government indicates “very little of this habitat (RE 7.3.7) remains” with an estimated 9,000 hectares prior to clearing and 1,000 hectares remaining in 2017. This vegetation type solely occurs between Cardwell and Cape Tribulation and what remains, less than half is within reserves.

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The Lowland Daintree | Photo by Steven Nowakowski

How are the Traditional Owners involved?

The Eastern Kuku Yalanji people (Bama) are the owners of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. Their country (babu) 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 have a rich cultural identity and strong spiritual connection to Daintree Rainforest. 

The Indigenous peoples on Cape York Peninsula and the Queensland Government are negotiating the ownership and management of national parks. Since commencing in 2008, the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program has handed back almost 3.5 million hectares of land to an Aboriginal Corporation or Land Trust and there are now 26 jointly managed national parks on Cape York Peninsula. Discussions with Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bama commenced in 2017.

Key features of jointly managed national parks include:

  • National park land is owned by an Aboriginal land holding entity (either an Aboriginal Corporation or Land Trust).
  • Decisions about park management are made jointly by the Aboriginal land holding entity and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS).
  • Work on the park is undertaken by the Aboriginal land holding entity in partnership with QPWS.

The Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program may result in the Eastern Kuku Yalanji and Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation managing the Daintree National Park and Lot 305 Cypress Road in the future.

The Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation has added additional information on the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program here

The Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation represents the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bama (people) in the management of land (bubu). Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and the Rainforest 4 Foundation have a partnership agreement to purchase and protect land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation has an established relationship with the Queensland Government and manages the acquisition of land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and the transfer of the title to the Queensland Government for inclusion in the Daintree National Park.

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We're Buying A Hectare of Rainforest in Far North Queensland! Here's Why, Kate Stevens, Andrew, Jabalbina and Kelvin, Indigenous, rainforest, trees, workers

Kuku Yalanji Bama with Kelvin Davies of Rainforest 4 Foundation | Photo by Steven Nowakowski

Who will own the land?

Negotiations with the Queensland Government on the inclusion of Lot 305 Cypress Road can only be conducted with the owners of the property. Upon settlement the title of the property will be transferred to the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation who will then manage the transfer of the title for the land to the Queensland Government. The process of purchasing the property and transferring it into the national parks estate will likely take up to 6-12 months.

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Can you trust the Queensland Government to protect the Daintree National Park?

Many people are critical of the Queensland Government’s position on environmental issues, for example, their support for Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine, and some have asked if the Queensland Government can be trusted to protect the land forever. While nothing is guaranteed we can be reassured by the Queensland Government’s track record related to the Daintree National Park. 

The Daintree National Park is a World Heritage Area, and this provides the highest level of protection for land in Australia. Since the declaration of the Daintree National Park in 1988 the Queensland Government has ensured land in the national park has been protected. They have also made additions to the national park estate. The Queensland Government has identified Lot 305 Cypress Road as a priority for conservation and it aligns with their planning for conservation of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. While says they won’t commit any more money to the acquisition of freehold land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, the land acquired over time for the Daintree National Park has been protected. 

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We're Buying A Hectare of Rainforest in Far North Queensland! Here's Why, Kate Stevens, trees, palms, trunk, ferns

Daintree Lowland Rainforest | Photo by Steven Nowakowski

How will it be purchased?

Lot 350 Cypress Road will be acquired in the same manner as other freehold properties in Australia. A contract for sale has been exchanged, a deposit paid and a settlement date set. The purchaser and the seller will both have a conveyancer acting on their behalf.

How much will it cost? 

Lot 350 Cypress Road is 1 ha in size (10,000 sqm). With a purchase price of $25,000 each sqm will cost just $2.50. This is the cheapest way to protect habitat for the endangered species including the Southern Cassowary and Bennetts Tree-kangaroo.

Please make a donation now online.

Are there other expenses?

The acquisition of Lot 305 Cypress Road will involve other expenses. An individual philanthropist has provided $5,000 for administration and for local government rates for two years by which time the property will be gifted to the Queensland Government for inclusion in the Daintree National Park and rates will not apply. Lot 305 Cypress Road does not require weed control. Conveyancing is being provided pro bono and we are exempt from stamp duty.

Lot 390 Maple Road Cow Bay

Map showing Lot 390 Maple Road with the Daintree National Park bottom.

What happens if the target is exceeded?

All monies raised in excess of $25,000, will go straight towards the purchase of an additional property. There are 170 properties we would like to purchase and protect.  

If the fundraising target is not achieved what will happen to my donation?  

We want to be successful, now and into the future, so we carefully choose the properties we want to purchase for conservation. We have a plan to reach the fundraising target needed to buy each property. We purchase them one at a time, we space out the acquisitions and we give consideration to the total cost and the success of past fundraising. Of course, nothing is guaranteed and if we are unable to reach the target for a specified property purchase the donated monies will be used for a future land purchase in the Daintree Rainforest, or if necessary for other conservation projects in the Daintree Rainforest, for example, planting trees. The Rainforest 4 Foundation is registered with the Australian Charites and Non-for-profits Commission and we are required to only spend the donations we receive on the cause as specified in our constitution. 

Please make a donation now online.

Has this type of buyback successfully been done before?

Yes, since 1992, non-profit organisations have purchased seventy-five properties for conservation. The most recent purchase was Lot 107 Buchanan Creek Road in Cow Bay in July 2019. The Australian Government contributed to Daintree Rainforest land buyback in 1994 and the Queensland Government and Douglas Shire Council did the same in the 2000s. However, they say they’ve got no further commitment to supporting the purchase and protection of more freehold land, even though the threat of development remains. 

How can I make a donation to purchase and protect Lot 305 Cypress Road in the Daintree Rainforest?

You can make a donation now online.

You can also contribute to the crowdfunding campaign set up on the Chuffed website to purchase Lot 305 Cypress Road.  

Ways to Donate

If you want to donate with a cheque/money order or through a direct deposit, please see our Ways to Donate page.

Cheque or Money Order: 

You can donate by sending a cheque or money order made out to the Bunya Sustainability Fund to 27 Tuckeroo Avenue, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482.

PayPal:

You can donate using your PayPal account on our website.

You can send your donation to info@rainforest4.org

Direct Deposit: If you would like to donate by direct deposit, the account details are:

Bank: ANZ Bank

Account Name: Bunya Sustainability Fund

BSB: 012 742

Account No. 2093 50036

If you contribute by direct deposit, please send an email to info@Rainforest4.org with the details of the amount and any preference you have for supporting a project. Please also provide your name and postal address so we can issue a receipt.

CASH DONATIONS: 

You can make cash deposits at any branch of the ANZ Bank or their agents. The account details are:

Bank: ANZ Bank

Account Name: Bunya Sustainability Fund

BSB: 012 742

Account No. 2093 50036

If you contribute by a cash deposit, please send an email to info@Rainforest4.org with the details of the amount and any preference you have for supporting a project. Please also provide your name and postal address so we can issue a receipt.

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.

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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 tour operators in the Daintree Rainforest tourism business that you can find online. Self-drive tourism is also very popular and the land we are purchasing for conservation is easily accessed by a 2WD vehicle.

Please make a donation now online.

Who are We Are Explorers?

We Are Explorers is an adventure media company spreading the power and excitement of outdoor adventure to 1m+ people in Australia and New Zealand every month. We produce content and activations in partnership with the greatest brands on the planet. They are supporting Rainforest 4 Foundation by creating and managing a crowdfunding campaign to help us purchase and protect Lot 305 Cypress Road. Contributions to the campaign can be made at www.chuffed.org/project/protectthedaintree

About the Rainforest 4 Foundation 

The Rainforest 4 Foundation is an Australian Company Limited by Guarantee (the legal structure of an Australian nonprofit organisation. We are registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (the Australian company regulator). We are also registered with the Australian Charites and Not-for-profits Commission (the Australian charity regulator).

Australian Company Number (ACN): 628358323

Australian Business Number (ABN):   49628358323

If you have any questions about the purchase and protection of Lot 305 Cypress Road please contact us or call Kelvin Davies on 0437 423 119.

 

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  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in News 2019-11-24 13:14:26 +1100

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