COMPLETED PROJECT SNAPSHOT

Action: Purchase Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road (RP 738591

Area: 1.021 hectares 

Location: Diwan, Queensland

Vegetation type: The majority of Lot 150 contains Regional Ecosystem 7.3.3: Mesophyll vine forest with Archontophoenix alexandrae on poorly drained alluvial plains. This vegetation type is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

Endangered Ecological Community: Lowland tropical rainforest of the Wet Tropics ecological community is listed in the Endangered Category under the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Threatened Species: Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii), Climbing Pandan (Freycinetia percostata), Daintree Ryparosa (Ryparosa kurrangii), Gray’s Walnut (Endiandra grayi), Isachne sharpii (no common name),  Noah’s Walnut (Endiandra microneura).

Species of conservation Significance (Endemic or found at the limits of their natural range): Green Dinosaur (Idiospermum australiense), Daintree Cleistanthus (Cleistanthus myrianthus), Millaa Ebony (Diospyros pluviatilis), Cooper Creek Haplostichanthus (Polyalthia xanthocarpa). 

Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road

This property was purchased for protection in April 2023. 

The Daintree Lowland Rainforest is a living museum and Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road has a significant population of the ancient flowering plant Idiospermum australiense.

This species represents one of the earliest known lineages of flowering plants, dating back 120 million years. They are found in very few locations in north-eastern Queensland (e.g. the Daintree National Park and nearby freehold properties) and only in the very wet parts of the rainforest. 

The Idiospermum has provided justification for the description of the Daintree as the oldest continuously existing rainforest in the world. They have been called the Green Dinosaur and the Daintree - the place where flowers began. They are found in the fossil record going back 120 million years and are of great significance to science and our understanding of the evolution of flowering plants. 

For this reason, Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road has been purchased and will be provided with the highest level of protection, and managed for its exceptional conservation values.  

Seedlings of the Ribbonwood (Idiospermum australiense)

Ribbonwood trees (Idiospermum australiense) have a very limited distribution. Unlike fruits of other rainforest plants, they are not distributed by the Southern Cassowary. 

They have a unique poison, a chemical called idiospermuline contained within the seed. The seeds are so toxic that most animals cannot eat them without being severely poisoned. The seeds are mainly spread through gravity dispersal, the seeds rolling down slopes to find their new home. It has been suggested that the seeds were formerly dispersed by the now-extinct Diprotodon, on the basis that many Australian marsupials are adapted to cope with the toxins in Australian plants.

Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road is a freehold property adjacent to the Daintree National Park. It is located at Diwan and is part of the core Idiospermum habitat in the Daintree. The Idiospermum populations at Diwan is equally significant to populations in the Noah/Oliver Creek valleys.

Leaves of the Ribbonwood (Idiospermum australiense)

The acquisition of Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road will help to fulfil our vision for the conservation of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest which requires the buyback of all undeveloped freehold properties so they can be managed for their exceptional conservation values. Buying this property will allow it to be included in the adjoining Daintree National Park. 

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. 

“Small areas on the very wet lowlands, especially between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation, harbour plant species which are extremely restricted and uncommon. Many areas of this ecosystem are considered refugial in nature and are local centres of endemism. Many representatives of primitive families of flowering plants are present, including the monotypic family Idiospermaceae. The ecosystem is the habitat for many threatened plant species”.

International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 

 Fruits of the Ribbonwood (Idiospermum australiense) on Lot 150

Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road is located at Diwan in the heart of the iconic Daintree Lowland Rainforest. It is completely covered by tropical rainforest and there is no evidence of a past clearing. On the property, there are many very large trees reaching 35 to 60 meters tall with impressive buttress roots. The trees are festooned with epiphytes being ferns and orchids with large lianas and other vines cascading from above.

Lot 150 is important in maintaining a vegetated corridor across the landscape as the property abuts a significant and extensive tract of forest from the mangroves to the east containing the biologically rich Cooper Creek - Cow Bay mangrove system and the Thornton Peak mountainous region to the immediate west.   

This region of the Daintree houses cryptic and rare species, some of which were identified growing on Lot 150.

A vegetation survey undertaken in May 2023 identified 164 species of plants including five listed at 'Threatened species'. 

The vegetation on Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road contains two markedly different ecosystems, one that is high diversity well developed luxuriant rainforest growing in better-drained soil while the other is Swamp forest of lower diversity growing in a ponded situation. The entire property is remnant vegetation.

The majority of Lot 150 contains Regional Ecosystem 7.3.3: Mesophyll vine forest with Archontophoenix alexandrae on poorly drained alluvial plains.

This vegetation type is listed as “Of Concern” under the Vegetation Management Act 1999. The Queensland government indicates a pre-clearing amount of 5,000 ha existed with 2,000 ha remaining in 2019. The Queensland government specifically states that this vegetation type has “Special Values” being: “Habitat for threatened plant species include Phlegmariurus dalhousieanus”.

The second vegetation type is Regional Ecosystem 7.11.1: Simple to complex mesophyll to notophyll vine forest on moderately to poorly drained metamorphics (excluding amphibolites) of moderate fertility of the moist and wet lowlands, foothills and uplands.

Regional Ecosystem 7.11.1 is categorised as Essential habitat for the:

  • Endangered Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii)
  • Spotted-tailed Quoll Northern subspecies (Dasyurus maculatus gracilis)
  • Bennett’s tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus)
  • a Vine (Dioclea hexandra)
  • a Fern (Hymenasplenium wildii)

Of note from Lot 150 were 10 species of native Meliaceae (Mahogany’s), 9 species of native Laurels, 9 species of native Palm and 7 species of native Ficus. Some larger specimens of the ancient Hope’s Cycad (Lepidozamia hopei) were identified on the property and a handful of younger seedlings.

Old-growth trees on Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road

The endangered Southern Cassowary 

Lot 150 Cape Tribulation Road (right of picture) 

Thank you to the generous donors who funded the purchase and protection of this Daintree Rainforest Property.

 

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