We’ve provided answers to the most frequently asked questions for the purchase and protection of Lot 232 White Beech Road at Cow Bay in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

Isn’t the Daintree protected as 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 1982, a pro-development Queensland State Government rezoned leasehold and freehold in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, enabling a developer to subdivide it into 1,136 blocks. This resulted in the building of over 50km 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.

A developer created 1,136 blocks in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

Why is the Daintree important?

The Daintree Lowland Rainforest is the oldest rainforest 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 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. The Daintree Lowland Rainforest also provides a refuge for many unique species of fauna including the Southern Cassowary, Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, and Musky Rat-kangaroo.

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 

In November 2021 the Australian Government listed the lowland tropical rainforest of the Wet Tropics ecological community, in the Endangered Category under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The listing is effective as of the 26th November 2021 and includes the Wet Tropics of North Queensland, from near Ingham (just south of the Cardwell Range) in the south to north around Cape Tribulation. While now listed as Endangered the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is still not fully protected. The freehold properties in the Daintree lowland remain at risk from rural residential development.  

Bennett's Tree-kangaroo 

What are the threats to the Daintree Rainforest?

Since the 1980s, there has been constant pressure applied to further develop the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. This includes calls for a bridge over the Daintree River, upgrading of roads, and the supply of mains electricity. This would only create conditions supportive of further inappropriate development. In 2020, we identified 207 undeveloped freehold properties in the Daintree lowlands that we now aim to purchase and manage for conservation. Building more houses on these properties would further fragment the rainforest and for that reason, further buyback of land is needed.  

Recovering from the impacts of fragmentation

Fragmentation occurs when forests are damaged through deforestation, road building, or other developments, dividing the forest into smaller blocks and creating what is known as the edge effect. The impacts of the edge effect have been thoroughly documented over several decades and show the significant detrimental effects on biodiversity. The rural residential subdivision in the Daintree lowlands created 1,136 freehold properties and approximately 50 km of roads were constructed. This divided the rainforest into smaller areas and now a significant percentage of the remaining lowland rainforest occurs within 100m of the rainforest edge. 

How are the properties assessed for acquisition? 

Properties are assessed by a trained ecologist who has Tertiary qualifications in Horticulture, Botany, and Rainforest Science. Our target list of properties has been developed by an ecologist who holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons) specialising in Wildlife Ecology and Threatened Species Management. Each property we negotiate to purchase has been given a priority acquisition score based on regional ecosystem classification, biodiversity status, protected area connectivity, canopy coverage, corridor function, proximity to settled lots, settlement risk, the existence of encroachments and encumbrances, likelihood of being added to Queensland’s Protected Area Estate and value for money in the current market. We are also mindful of the cultural significance of the land and how it complements the broader landscape. We only purchase properties freely offered to us for sale or that are available on the open market.

Reversing the impacts of development

To fulfill our vision of the conservation of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest requires the buyback of all undeveloped freehold properties in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and their management for nature conservation. 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 buy back all undeveloped freehold land for several reasons, it enables the potential closure of roads, brings more land under the one management regime, and ensures the highest level of protection by including land in the Daintree National Park (CYPAL) estate. 

The buyback of land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest by nonprofit organisations began in 1992. 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 winding back the impacts of the subdivision. 

The 2006 Douglas Shire Planning Scheme removed the development rights from 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 which committed $15 million for the Daintree Buyback Scheme. This money was used to purchase freehold properties suitable for inclusion in the 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 and these properties remain in private ownership. Lot 232 White Beech Road is one of these properties. 

What about Lot 232 White Beech Road?  

Lot 232 White Beech Road (RP739771) is a freehold property of 10,000 sqm created through the subdivision of land in 1982. It is located in Cow Bay in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and adjoins another property acquired for the Daintree National Park (CYPAL) estate. We are purchasing Lot 232 White Beech Road to ensure it is managed for conservation. The Douglas Shire Council does not currently have Lot 232 White Beech Road at Cow Bay zoned for development, however, Council could rezone this property at a future point in time. As the protection of this freehold property is limited, we want to add it to the Daintree National Park (CYPAL) estate where it will have the highest level of protection available. This will also help to reverse the impacts of past development and improve the conservation of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

We are focusing our efforts on Cow Bay as scientists have identified this area as being the highest priority for conservation. It has some of the highest levels of biodiversity and the highest density of southern cassowaries in Australia. We have previously purchased Lot 242 White Beech Road and 14 other properties in Cow Bay in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, which you can see here.  

Conservation values of Lot 232 White Beech Road

Cyclone Jasper (Dec 2023) damaged vegetation on the property by knocking down a number of large trees. This is a natural occurrence in Far North Queensland. The rainforest is recovering, with many seedlings of trees germinating and growing.

Daintree Gardenia (Randia audasii) is found on the property. This small tree is endemic to Far North Queensland and is restricted to the area between Cooktown, Cairns, and Atherton. It produces white perfumed flowers and fruit that are orange when ripe. It is listed as Near Threatened under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.

The Daintree Foambark (Jagera madida) was found on Lot 232. This is a local endemic plant species with a natural range of lowland rainforest in the greater Daintree-Bloomfield lowlands. Two saplings were identified on lot 232. 

Daintree Gardenia (Randia audasii)

The vegetation of Lot 232 White Beech Road has been mapped as essential habitat for the Endangered Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii). The Southern Cassowary is listed as Endangered in the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Southern Cassowary

What about weeds?

The entire property is free of exotic plants.

What about feral animals? 

The main feral animal problem in the Daintree Rainforest is pigs. The Douglas Shire Council has a trapping program that removes 600 pigs per year. There are very few, if any, feral cats in the Daintree due to the number of large pythons that prey on them. 

What about the risk of bushfires?

The risk of fires in this location is low as this is one of the wettest places in Australia and rainforest vegetation is less likely to burn. This is managed by removing exotic grasses and other flammable plants. 

Who is managing this project? 

Save the Daintree is a conservation program of Gondwana Rainforest Trust. This program to purchase and protect land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is built on a partnership between the Gondwana Rainforest Trust and Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation

How are the Traditional Owners involved?

The Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bama (Bama meaning Rainforest Aboriginal people) are the owners of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. Their Country (Bubu) 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 has a rich cultural identity and strong spiritual connection to Daintree Rainforest. 

The Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation represents the Eastern Kuku Yalanji in the management of Bubu. They employ the Jabalbina Rangers who work on Bubu.  

Gondwana Rainforest Trust and Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation have a partnership agreement to purchase and protect land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. The properties acquired by Gondwana Rainforest Trust will be managed by the Traditional Owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji as part of the Daintree National Park Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land (CYPAL) estate. At that time, the Jabalbina Rangers will undertake all required management and restoration works.  

Kelvin Davies (left) with Kuku Yalanji Traditional Owners


The partnership between Gondwana Rainforest Trust and Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation is the only formalised, non-Government program that purchases land for conservation to be owned and managed by its Traditional Owners. The partnership was recognised at the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards winning the Premier’s Reconciliation Award and the Partnership Award category.

2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards

Who will own the land?

The properties are being acquired by Gondwana Rainforest Trust (ABN 49 628 358 323). We are registered with the Australian Government (ASIC) as a Company Limited by Guarantee (a non-profit organisation) and with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC). Our Constitution details that we must use all money raised for charitable purposes. Our constitution restricts our activities to rainforest conservation activities. We ensure purchased land has the highest level of protection available and is managed for conservation. To achieve this, the properties will be transferred to the Daintree National Park - Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land (CYPAL) estate. 

We are working with the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to develop a more streamlined process for the transfer of properties into the protected area estate. The Department of Environment and Science and other key stakeholders are fully supportive of this outcome, however, it is a lengthy process that requires the cooperation of multiple stakeholders. Over 250 properties that have been acquired within the original subdivision in the Daintree Lowlands by government agencies and not-for-profit organisations have already been added to the Daintree National Park (CYPAL).

On the September 29, 2021, a historic handover of land occurred seeing more than 160,000 hectares returned to the ownership of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people. Read the full story hereThe Queensland Government delivered deeds of grant to the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation on behalf of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji People. The land includes the Daintree National Park and three other national parks on Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bubu (County). In addition, an Indigenous Management Agreement was signed for the designation of the Daintree, Ngalba-bulal, Kalkajaka, and Hope Islands national parks as Daintree National Park - Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land (CYPAL). These national parks total 160,108 hectares and will be jointly managed by Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and the Queensland Government.

These agreements recognise Eastern Kuku Yalanji's rights to be custodians and managers of their traditional country. Under these agreements, Eastern Kuku Yalanji people will be involved in managing Daintree National Park. The Queensland Government provides funding to the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation to co-manage the Daintree National park and this includes the properties acquired through this program.  

We pay rates to the Douglas Shire Council for purchased properties until the property is transferred and managed as Daintree National Park (CYPAL) estate. 

Are properties with houses on them purchased as part of this program? 

No, none of the properties acquired under this program have houses on them. This Daintree land buyback program only considers high conservation value properties for acquisition that remain undeveloped or unsettled and that are situated within the 1980s rural-residential style subdivision in the Daintree lowlands north of the Daintree River. 

Can this land be used for Indigenous housing in the future? 

No, the properties are purchased for conservation. We have an agreement with the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation that the properties acquired under this program will be protected and managed for conservation purposes. The project partners are currently developing a separate program for co-financing and joint management collaboration between key stakeholders to acquire established houses in the Daintree region to provide opportunities for Eastern Kuku Yalanji Traditional Owners to reside on Country. This proposed program is aligned to support the outcomes of the land acquired for conservation and management. 

Do you purchase properties that have regrowth rainforest on them?

Some of the properties we acquire have regrowth rainforest on them, others are a mix of regrowth and remnant rainforest. As of November 2021, the entire Lowland tropical rainforest of the Daintree was listed in the Endangered category of the threatened ecological communities list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) (EPBC Act). This listing is reserved for ecological communities that the Commonwealth Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) considers to have a high or greater chance of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future or earlier. Revegetated or replanted sites or areas of regrowth are not excluded from this listed ecological community provided they meet key diagnostic characteristics such as soil type, rainfall, elevation, diversity, canopy features and structure. The members of the TSSC are appointed by the Minister for the Environment. As of February 2022, the TSSC consists of 12 experts from relevant academic fields.

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. 

What about neighbouring properties?

The property shares a boundary with the Daintree National Park/World Heritage Area. Several nearby properties have been developed for housing. We have purchased other properties in Cow Bay including two in White Been Road and Teak Road. 

Will I be able to visit the properties? 

Yes, we want donors and supporters to see the rainforest they are helping to purchase and protect. It is 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 accommodation and tour operators in the Daintree Rainforest 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. 

Has this type of buyback been done successfully before now?

Yes, in the past four years, we have purchased 29 Daintree Rainforest properties for conservation. Since 1992, non-profit organisations have purchased seventy-five Daintree Rainforest properties for conservation. The Douglas Shire Council, Queensland, and Australian governments have also contributed financially to the purchase or ‘buyback’ of freehold land aimed at preventing further development and reversing the impacts of the subdivision. All three levels of government say they won't make any further commitment to supporting the purchase and protection of more freehold land, even though the need for further conservation is high and the threat of development remains. 

Purchased properties and the Daintree National Park

The Queensland Government’s track record related to the Daintree National Park (CYPAL) provides confidence in its future management.  

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 conservation of the properties we are acquiring aligns with the Queensland Government's plan for the conservation of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

The Queensland Government has contributed to the conservation of the Daintree in the following ways.

  • In the early 1990s, the Queensland Government introduced a policy preventing the extension of mains electricity north of the Daintree River. This remains in place today.
  • In 1993 the Australian and Queensland governments funded the Daintree Rescue Program providing $23 million. $11 million was used to purchase 83 properties totaling 1,640ha for their natural values. The remaining funds were used for management purposes such as visitor facilities.
  • In 2004 the Douglas Shire Council placed a moratorium on development while a new planning scheme was developed. This ultimately placed limits on development in specified areas north of Alexandra Range and removed development rights from 350 freehold properties. Between 2006-2008 the Queensland State Government created the Daintree Buyback Scheme to purchase land impacted by the Douglas Shire Council planning scheme. Landholders were given the option to sell to the state government or be compensated for the loss of development rights. The Queensland government provided $15 million and 330 properties were acquired for the Daintree National Park estate.

How will the land be purchased?

The properties are acquired in the same manner as other freehold properties in Australia. A contract for sale is exchanged, a deposit paid and a settlement date set. The purchaser and the seller will both have a conveyancer acting on their behalf. 

As a charity, we are providing the opportunity for people to make donations to support the purchase and protection of land. We are unable to structure an opportunity for people to be joint owners, to have a share, or to have their name on the title. 

Carbon credits 

The blocks we are purchasing in the Daintree Rainforest are not suitable for carbon credits issued under the avoided deforestation method. For vegetation (in our case rainforest) to qualify for this method of accruing carbon credits there needs to be a valid clearing consent that was issued before 1 July 2010. The clearing consent also needs to state that clearing is permitted for the purposes of permanently converting the forest to cropland or grassland, not to plantations or settlements. Neither of these applies to the properties we are acquiring in the Daintree.

Fan Palm | Photo by Steven Nowakowski

How much will it cost? 

To purchase and protect Lot 232 Cape Tribulation Road we need to raise $50,000. The property is 10,000 sqm in size and the price is $5.00 per sqm. We receive pro-bono support for conveyancing and we are exempt from government transfer fees (stamp duty).

What happens if the target is exceeded?

All monies raised in excess of $50,000 will go straight towards the purchase of an additional property. There are another 150 properties we would like to purchase and protect.  

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

All funds raised will be spent on Daintree land purchase and protection. We have been successful in purchasing land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest for conservation 29 times in the last two years. We feel confident in reaching the fundraising target for this property.   

We want to be successful, now and in 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 Charities and Non-for-profits Commission and we are required to only spend the donations we receive on the cause as specified in our constitution. 

Is the Daintree population decreasing? 

We acknowledge and appreciate that local communities that support conservation have a very important role in the custodianship of biodiversity through the maintenance and enhancement of ecological communities and ecosystem processes.

Census data reveals that the number of dwellings increased in every locality north of the Daintree River up to Cape Tribulation between the census years of 2016 and 2021. Overall, the number of dwellings in these localities increased by 25% from 437 to 546 and the population increased by 11.4% over the same period.




Census Locality



% Change



% Change

Cow Bay














Thornton Beach







Cape Tribulation














Forest Creek















Are short-term rentals an issue?  

AirDNA (https://www.airdna.co/) shows that there are over 90 short-stay accommodation options in the above localities, 76 of which are entire homes. This accounts for approximately 20% of the housing stock in some areas. 

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 PO Box 1226, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482.


You can donate using your PayPal account on our website.

You can send your donation to [email protected]

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 [email protected] 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.


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

Bank: Westpac Bank

Account Gondwana Rainforest Trust Fund

BSB: 032-573

Account No. 362515

If you contribute by a cash deposit, please send an email to [email protected] 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.

About Gondwana Rainforest Trust 

Gondwana Rainforest Trust 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 please contact us or call Kelvin Davies on 0437 423 119.


521,447 sqm funded
Of our 1,000,000 sqm protected target
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