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Mar 16, 2017

Letting the Cassowary Tell a Cautionary Tale

A visitor to our Daintree Native Nursury last week
A visitor to our Daintree Native Nursury last week

The Cassowary is often used as a hero image for conservation in tropical Far North Queensland. How fitting it is to have a dinosaur bird in the Daintree with its lineage going back millions of years to the ancient Gondwanan Rainforest. However, the Cassowary also helps us tell a more modern and precarious tale.

The combined impacts of climate change and development are impacting on rainforests around the world. We know that half the trees on the planet have been lost and 15 billion trees are chopped or burned down every year. Yet these facts are so nebulous they’re difficult to comprehend, or know how to take action. When we bring focus to the local level it’s easier to see what can be done. The Cassowary helps us tell this tale. 

In the Daintree, the lowland rainforest is under the greatest threat from break-up and change. Research shows the disproportionate impacts on biodiversity when rainforest is fragmented. The Cassowary relies on certain species of fruit to get it through lean times; the availability and distribution of these fruit will impact on future Cassowary numbers. In addition, the Cassowary is needed by certain trees for seed dispersal; its ability to move through the local environment will impact on tree distribution. When we start to destroy natural habitat, build roads, introduce invasive weeds and generally disrupt the Cassowary’s mobility we upset this balance. 

Add in the extra pressures brought by greater variability in weather patterns, from droughts and floods, the resilience of the rainforest starts to be compromised. If a Cassowary is unable to travel to an area and disperse a seed, we lose the potential of a tree and all the other species that rely on that tree for life. A small impact, but one that is cumulative. 

Luckily we can do something about this. You and fellow rainforest rescuers are buying back strategic rainforest properties to create wildlife corridors to stop fragmentation of the unique and ancient lowland Daintree forest.

Of the 28 properties saved by you and fellow rainforest rescuers in the Daintree, 21 are now covered with Nature Refuge Covenants, protecting them forever. In addition, two further properties have been gifted to the adjacent Daintree National Park. The remaining four properties will be protected with covenants once restoration work and other legal processes are complete.

 These actions are having a real and significant impact and wouldn’t be possible without your support.

Jan 30, 2017

Rainforest Rescue's 2020 Vision

Rainforest Rescue launched in 1999 with a passionate dream and a commitment toward saving rainforests and protecting their biodiversity permanently. This dream was born out of frustration that institutions who were in a position to do more, weren’t doing enough and the belief that individuals could and would rise up to meet the challenge. Rainforest Rescue supporters often report that they feel empowered by knowing they are doing something tangible and immediate to protect rainforests. Our vision is simply to Protect Rainforests Forever.

As of today, with the help of supporters, we have saved and protected twenty-eight properties in Australia’s Daintree rainforest lowlands. The Daintree Rainforest is one of the oldest and most bio diverse rainforests in the world. It is home to 12 of the world's 19 primitive plant families, the highest concentration on earth. By raising funds from supporters, grants and partnerships, rainforest properties which are earmarked for development are purchased, restored if necessary, and protected forever by seeking nature covenant status. We strategically target properties to create wildlife corridors and reserves.

Our reach through the years has widened to include all of Australia and also internationally significant projects. This includes buy-back and protection of rainforest in Tasmania; reforestation projects across the Big Scrub area in Northern NSW (over 125,000 trees) and SE Queensland; and Cassowary conservation at Mission Beach through the Save the Cassowary campaign. International partners have included: the Orangutan Information Centre in Indonesia; Rainforest Concern in UK/Ecuador; and Rainforest Rescue International in Sri Lanka.

Recently the Rainforest Rescue Board of Directors drafted and adopted a new 5 year plan, embedding a clear and strategic plan to take the organisation through to 2020. In the Daintree, buy-back will continue to be our primary focus, ensuring maximum conservation outcomes for investment. We will also be investing in our Native Nursery, developing it into a seed ark and a focus for local social enterprise. Seeds are collected from local rainforest and grown at the nursery for reforestation projects on rescued land. Over 80,000 trees comprising over 200 species have been cultivated at the site and planted in the Daintree.

We will continue to seek out and cultivate partnerships to increase reach and impact both within the Daintree and further afield, targeting conservation projects which help improve connectivity and biodiversity and building on successful projects such as our recent Nightwings partnership project just south of the Daintree river, which has now seen over 20,000 trees planted, restoring and transforming previous sugar cane lands back to pristine rainforest.

Your support and involvement is vital to our 2020 vision. By adopting rainforest now, you can be a part of this unique and important vision to Protect Rainforests Forever. Please join others in making a real and sustainable difference to rainforests, biodiversity and climate change.

Macleay Honeyeater
Macleay Honeyeater
Jan 25, 2017

Healing Wundu

Thornton Peak or Wundu (Kuku Yalanji)
Thornton Peak or Wundu (Kuku Yalanji)

Lot 46 sits at the base of and is part of the magnificent Wundu (Thornton Peak) which connects directly with the World Heritage area and Daintree National Park. A prominent peak and landmark, Thornton Peak rises above the Daintree Rainforest to a height of 1374m. The peak is covered by native rainforest and is home to a number of endemic species. It is one of only three mountain tops in Australia that are home to the cinereus ringtail possum.

These areas, along with the greater Daintree area have great spiritual and cultural significance to the Kuku Yalanji people, the indigenous inhabitants and traditional owners of the land which stretches from around Cooktown in the north to near Chillagoe in the west and Port Douglas in the South.

‘We are true rainforest people who live in harmony with our environment. We are part of it and it is part of us. Our culture has always involved a deep respect for nature and an intimate knowledge of its cycles.

What we know about the plants of the rainforest we learnt from our elders - our fathers, grand fathers, mothers, uncles and aunties. What we know belongs to them, to our culture and our traditions.’
Kuku Yalanji Elders

By acting quickly and purchasing this property, and with supporters help, Lot 46 was able to be fully restored. Through extensive regeneration methods, time and care the biodiversity of an ancient rainforest has been conserved for now. In linking Lot 46 back to its original source Wundu, not only has an important corridor been returned, but we are helping to protect country which is greatly significant to the Kuku Yalanji.

Having now completed restoration of the 68 Acre property, we are asking you to help secure it for future generations. (Thank you if you have already given) The next step is to finalise the loan used to purchase the property. Unfortunately until this happens the land is not technically protected in perpetuity. Your donations will go towards this effort as well as towards locking in Nature Reserve status so that this very special rainforest can truly be protected forever. (Out of 28 Daintree properties rescued by Rainforest Rescue and supporters, Lot 46 is the only property where taking out  a loan was an urgent necessity)

Being a ‘guardian’ of this extraordinary land brings great responsibility. Thank you for becoming a Guardian of Lot 46 and helping to return the land to Wundu permanently - ensuring its protection forever.

Cinereus Ringtail Possum
Cinereus Ringtail Possum
Indigenous ranger holds smoking ceremony on Lot 46
Indigenous ranger holds smoking ceremony on Lot 46
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