In talking to people about our work in the Daintree, there's a question that pops up regularly: why is buyback still needed, and why do we need to be the ones to do it? 

It's a good question. At it's core, buyback must continue because freehold rainforest land continues to come up for sale. If we don't take action development will continue. 

In fact, three more For Sale signs popped up in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest last week. The more land we can buy, the more rainforest we can save from the threat of clearing for housing development. 

To help explain it a little more, we've compiled a brief buyback timeline: 

The history of Daintree land buyback 

1981: Over 7,500 hectares are subdivided in the Daintree lowlands, resulting in the creation of 1,136 blocks of freehold land. Fifty kilometres of roads are built for the subdivisions and construction of houses begins.


1984: Rainforest defenders create a blockade in an effort to prevent the ramming of a 33km four-wheel drive track through the Daintree Rainforest. This historic action is now known as the Daintree blockade. 


1988: The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is declared. The subdivided freehold land in the Daintree lowlands, north of the Daintree River, is excluded. Importantly, the rainforests in this area are recognised as exhibiting environmental values equal to, and in particular cases, surpassing those of the adjacent World-Heritage-listed forests.


1990s and 2000s: The Douglas Shire Council and Queensland and Australian governments all make limited financial contributions to the purchase of freehold land aimed at preventing development and winding back the impacts of the subdivision. This has now ceased. 


2019: The first Daintree property is secured by our Save the Daintree program, and with the support of an ecologist, we identify 207 blocks of freehold rainforest land as highest priority for protection.  


2021: The entire lowland tropical rainforest of the Daintree is listed in the endangered category of the threatened ecological communities list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) (EPBC Act). Freehold land is not protected. 


2024: Save the Daintree meets a milestone - 30 Daintree properties protected, one every 8 weeks. Simultaneously, dwellings continue to increase in the region. 

Development in the Daintree for housing continues

More buyback of land in the Daintree is needed because governments have not stepped up to finish the job. 

We keep buying properties for conservation, however, there are others that will develop the world's oldest rainforest for housing.

Census data reveals that the number of dwellings increased in every locality between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation for the census years of 2016 to 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.

The existing local community plays a very important role in caring for biodiversity. Ecotourism also has a great part to play in the protection of the rainforest, through enhancing awareness of the Daintree. They have our appreciation and support. We are buying rainforest land where there are no houses. 

By necessity, more Daintree rainforest dwellings equals more rainforest clearing, fragmentation and degradation. 

With 30 freehold properties purchased for conservation in 5 years (on average, 1 every 8 weeks), our supporters are demonstrating the leadership needed to Save the Daintree. 

There are an estimated 130 undeveloped freehold properties still at risk of development, and time is running out to ensure the the future of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. 

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. Let's not change that now.

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