Rainforest 4 is calling on all three levels of government to work together on a conservation management plan for the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.Read more
- Pressure is growing to develop the Daintree Lowland Rainforest with calls for a Gas Fired Power Station to supply reticulated electricity, a bridge across the Daintree River and widening and straightening the Cape Tribulation Road.
- The exceptional biological and scientific values of the Daintree Coast mean the conservation, presentation and transmission of those values to future generations must take priority.
- A thriving tourism economy is also founded on conservation and presentation.
- The Daintree Lowland Rainforest in North Queensland is the oldest rainforest on the planet, with an unbroken evolutionary history going back over 120 million years to the first flowering plants. Lets not change that now.
To the Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Government and Australian Government.
Dismiss current proposals for further development in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and work together and with other stakeholders to develop a conservation management plan for the area.
Over 30 years ago a group of activists put their bodies on the line to prevent a road being built through the Daintree Lowland Rainforest from Cape Tribulation to Cooktown. The Bloomfield Track was eventually built, however, resulting from the protests known as the Daintree Blockade the Wet Tropics rainforests of North Queensland were inscribed on the World Heritage list. Many people assumed Australia’s most biodiverse rainforest would be protected forever.
“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
Unfortunately, plans have resurfaced for further development in an area most Australians thought was secure from development. Only now the threat is even more significant. With plans for widening and straightening the main road comes calls for a bridge over the Daintree River as well as a gas fired power station to provide reticulated electricity. The Australian Government is even considering subsidising development – and right at a time when it has no money for conservation.
This is one place where conservation should come before development, yet there is no shared vision for the Daintree’s future and there is no conservation management plan for the area.
The Australian Government once protected the area by supporting its listing as a World Heritage Area yet it is now considering its support for widening and straightening the main road from the Daintree River through to Cooktown. The project will require extensive earthworks and clearing of significant rainforest and will result in a massive increase in traffic as well as a bridge over the Daintree River. That same government is supporting planning to build a gas-fired power plant on the Daintree Coast to reticulate mains power through the area. There are also calls for a bridge or second ferry to increase vehicle access to the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
In the Mid 1980’s a pro-development State Government inappropriately rezoned leasehold and freehold in the Daintree Lowlands Rainforest, enabling a developer to subdivide it into approximately 1,100 blocks. This has resulted in inappropriate road building, clearing and development of high conservation value rainforest. 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 25 years, this has been complemented through acquisitions by local and national non-profit conservation organisations. These new proposed developments would give support for further rural residential development and must be stopped.
Cr. Julia Leu, Douglas Shire Council Mayor
The Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, Queensland Government Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Australian Government Minister for the Environment.
We, the undersigned, call on the Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Government and Australian Government to dismiss current proposals for further development in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest that include an upgraded coast road, a bridge over the Daintree River and reticulated mains electricity generated by a gas-fired power station.
The Daintree Lowland Rainforest is a place of extraordinary scientific, biological cultural values that are irreplaceable. It is a foundation of the regional economy and an icon that Australians thought was adequately protected. Yet it has no overall vision or management plan. The mix of world heritage, national parks, traditionally owned land and freehold title mean management responsibility is spread between agencies, local residents and traditional owners with poor co-ordination across key issues like clearing, weeds, pests, domestic animals, visitor facilities, presentation, community infrastructure, transport and access. It is therefore proposed the local, state and Australian governments design and fund a community-based Conservation Management Plan covering the entire ecosystem of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, regardless of tenure. Key interests are World Heritage Area, Daintree National Parks, Native Title and freehold land.
We call on the Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Government and Australian Government to work together and with other stakeholders to develop a conservation management plan before any further investment in infrastructure is considered in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
Location: Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland, Australia
Action: Road Closure and Revegetation
Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary, Bennetts Tree-kangaroo, Striped Possum
Habitat: Lowland Tropical Rainforest
Threats: Development, domestic dogs, weeds, illegal camping and dumping
Our Partner: Daintree Life
Total Cost of Project: $60,000
Closing and revegetation roads in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
For the Daintree, this is a game changer!
In the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, 50 kilometers of roads were constructed to service a subdivision created in the 1980’s. Thanks to the ongoing successful buyback of land for conservation we can now begin closing some of these roads! This is a game changer for the conservation of the Daintree Rainforest. After decades of struggle, we’ve reached a tipping point and if we can keep up the momentum we can turn back the impacts of the disastrous subdivision.
Right now, in Cow Bay, we have an opportunity to partially close Silkwood Road. The Douglas Shire Council have given their approval, but only on the condition that we restore the rainforest and not let it revert to weeds.
We need your help to close the end of Silkwood Road and replant the rainforest. To do that I need to plant 6,000 trees. To grow, plant and maintain one tree is just $10. To establish 6,000 trees I need to raise $60,000.
Please, will you help to close part of Silkwood Road. Each $10 raised will plant one tree and enable us to close part of the road. Please make a tax-deductible donation now.
Kelvin Davies on what was once a road in the Daintree Rainforest.
In the mid-1980's the Queensland government approved an 1,100 lot rural residential subdivision 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.
A significant milestone in the long struggle to save the Daintree Rainforest is now within reach as we have the opportunity to begin closing and revegetating some of these roads. We need your help to see this outcome achieved.
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 has 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.
A service road in Cow Bay ready to be closed and revegetated.
In conjunction with Daintree Life we will revegetate unused roads in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest by planting trees. This will help create a buffer for the Daintree National Park and increase habitat for wildlife. The cost of growing, planting, and maintenance is $10 per tree. Our partners, Daintree Life will manage the planting of the trees and will hold community planting days that will see Indigenous elders, traditional owner families, and members of the local community all working together to plant the trees. Daintree Life will also care for the trees 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.
Happy Daintree tree planters, Jesica Clarke and James Stanton-Cooke