Rainforest Rescue helps the Daintree National Park grow

August 30th, 2014

Yesterday Rainforest Rescue gifted a property to the Qld Department of Environment and Heritage Protection that bordered on the Daintree National Park, effectively growing the size of the Park.

The decision on part of our Board means a cost saving whilst ensuring permanent protection of the rainforest through its inclusion within the boundaries of the Daintree National Park.

Lot 76 Rosewood Road Cow Bay, directly opposite Rainforest Rescue’s Baralba Corridor Nature Refuge, was in near pristine condition, with only a small number of trees removed to create a driveway, so we left it to regenerate naturally.

On all our properties we pay annual council rates and also a once off fee of approximately $3,000 to place nature refuge status on the property.

“We are not about building a portfolio of property assets – we are about protecting as much rainforest as we possibly can,” said Grant Binns, Managing Director Rainforest Rescue “By gifting the property these saving can now be directed into protecting and restoring additional rainforest in the area”.

The gift and agreement were ratified by a Qld ministerial submission and ensures that if for any reason the property is no longer protected under National Parks status, the government is obliged to return the land to Rainforest Rescue.

“This is an innovative way to protect rainforest forever with no ongoing costs to Rainforest Rescue,” explained Grant.

The Southern Cassowary….a model father

August 27th, 2014

The male cassowary is a role model for all dads, human or otherwise. As a hard-working parent they hatch their chicks and raise them, teaching them all they need to know until they are independent enough to make their own way in the world.

Remind you of anyone?

So this Father’s day what better way to say “I love you Dad/Uncle/Grandpa/neighbour” than with a LivingGift that will protect and restore rainforest for the endangered southern cassowary.

Order your LivingGift now to ensure your Dad gets his gift in time for Father’s Day

With a Rainforest Rescue LivingGift you’ll not only be showing your Dad that you care, but that you care enough about the future to help make a difference.

5 Reasons to Avoid Palm Oil

July 18th, 2014

Guest blogger Kate Good

This article first appeared on One Green Planet

Palm oil is the world’s most popular vegetable oil. Used in most consumer goods, this particular oil may be cheap but it comes at a tremendous cost to the environment. Palm oil has been linked to many environmental, animal, and human rights violations yet companies continue to use this particular oil in everything from laundry detergent to snacks and lipstick.

It is clear that the world is aware of the many atrocities associated with Big Palm, so what is being done to stop it?

Some corporations have signed on with the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil and promised to source all their palm oil from certified, sustainable sources over the next few years. While these initiatives are amazing and could affect real change in the abusive practices of the palm oil industry, they haven’t been all that successful just yet.

Because palm oil supply chains can be hard to track, violations made to the RSPO’s standards are a huge problem for some companies that claim to sustainably source their oil. According to the Rainforest Action Network, Cargill’s lack of oversight has led to the violation of numerous RSPO measures, nullifying their efforts to reform their palm oil policy.

Until there is evidence that real change has been made to ensure all palm oil is sustainably sourced it is a good idea to avoid buy products that contain palm oil all together. Here are some reasons why:

1.  Palm oil heavily contributes to deforestation

The palm oil industry plays a large role in human induced climate change as palm oil plantations have cleared some of the world’s most precious, carbon capturing forests. For instance, in 2009, nearly 30 percent of Indonesia’s reported carbon emissions were the result of deforestation.

What’s more, according to the Say No To Palm Oil campaign, “Every hour an area the size of 300 football fields is cleared in Indonesia and Malaysia to make way for palm plantations.” Unbelievable!

Levelling forests not only impacts the climate, but poses a very immediate threat to endangered species that live in these tropical areas.

2. Palm oil is driving orangutans to extinction

Scientists predict that the fragile orangutan population could become extinct within our lifetime if we continue to destroy their home and natural habitats for palm oil plantations.

In the past 10 years, the orangutan population of Sumatra and Borneo has decreased by over 20,000. This sharp decline coincides with a growing demand for palm oil in the U.S. Between 1990 and 2010, the average quantity of palm oil consumed in the United States increased by 2000 million pounds. Yikes. Over 98 percent of all palm oil used in the United States comes from Southeast Asia.

The Orangutan Conservancy estimates that orangutans have lost over 80 percent of their natural habitat in the last 20 years.

3. Palm oil is driving other endangered species toward extinction, too

Orangutans are not the only animals that are at risk of extinction. Only about 400 tigers are left on the island of Sumatra. In 1978, there were estimated to be 1,000. Sumatran rhinos are also disappearing with population numbers equally less than 200.

The expansion of palm oil has introduced humans into parts of the rainforest that had been untouched for hundreds of years. As more roads are built and protective trees are levelled, elephants are being targeted at higher percentages for ivory, another indirect consequence of the palm oil industry. It is estimated that only 2,500 elephants remain in Sumatra.

4. Palm oil as an industry is riddled with human rights abuses

Among the 3.7 million people work in the palm oil industry, and thousands are child laborers forced to work. According to a report in Business Week, many workers are pulled into the industry through debt bondage or taken by human traffickers. Congruently, traffickers who are caught face few sanctions from government or business authorities. Click here to read more on the incredible conditions many palm workers face.

5. Palm oil’s just not good for you — plain and simple

Palm oil is high in saturated fats. After trans fats were banned from snack foods, many companies began to use palm oil as a “healthy” alternative. Turns out, palm oil is bad for you too. A study that followed people who ate a diet rich in palm oil for five weeks saw an increase in their LDL cholesterol levels – very similar to what occurs when people consume trans fats.

The best thing you can do to ensure that you are not contributing to these injustices with the products you buy is by starting your own boycott of palm oil. To help you decode the many names palm oil is listed under, check out this article from the Rainforest Action Network.

Read more about Rainforest Rescue’s Orangutan Habitat for Survival project here.

Image source: Nomo / Wikipedia Commons

Monitoring: measuring success of large scale rainforest restoration

July 10th, 2014
By Madeleine Faught, Chair Rainforest Rescue

Cassowary Conservation Reserve

Canopy cover, number of species, plant density, and rate of growth are key indicators of forest development.

At Lot 46 Cape Tribulation Road in the Daintree area of far north Queensland, Rainforest Rescue is monitoring all those factors and more to measure the success of a large scale rainforest restoration project.

The property was partly cleared in the 1960s, first for cattle grazing and later for Oil Palm cultivation. More recently it had become a dumping ground for rubbish, cars, caravans, boats, and a haven for impenetrable weeds. In 2012 we secured funding which set the property on its long journey back to rainforest.

Monitoring is based on periodic measurement of growth rates of both planted and ‘volunteer or wildling’ trees in areas left for natural regeneration. The property was divided into working zones and seven 50 x 20m monitoring plots were laid out in the different zones.

In addition, twelve permanent photographic points were set up within the working zones and plots to allow consistent recording of rainforest re-development and growth over time.

Results to date have been extremely positive, showing remarkable growth rates and rapid canopy closure – the key to rainforest structure. The monitoring will continue until we reach a point where this restored rainforest rules! By the looks of things, we don’t have long to wait for this to happen…

We are incredibly close to protecting Lot 38 Cape Tribulation Road forever!

June 29th, 2014

It has been a week of great news and I wish to thank Rainforest Rescue’s donors – together you are committed to protecting rainforest forever, thank you!

Two weeks ago we went out on a limb and signed the sales contract on one of the blocks of rainforest we identified as having high conservation value – we were worried it was going to be purchased by developers.

By Thursday we had received enough donations to buy Lot 13 Forest Creek Road … but more than that, the purchase of our second priority piece of land – Lot 38 Cape Tribulation Road is now almost a reality too.

Buoyed by your support I was able to negotiate a discounted price with the vendor. We are now committed to this purchase as well!

We are only $18,200 short of the goal needed to secure Lot 38 and the biodiversity it protects.

Your gift of $45 will buy a pristine 5m2 piece of rainforest, or $135 will buy 15m2.

Please make a donation today and help us protect Lot 38 forever from the bulldozer.

You will reduce your tax bill while making a massive contribution to the preservation and protection of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and all the amazing species it shelters.

Yours in caring for our rainforest

Grant Binns
Managing Director, Rainforest Rescue

Please act today – your donation is a very real gift – it will save our Daintree rainforest from destruction.

Plant a Rainforest

June 25th, 2014

I’ve just returned from ten days in the Daintree lowlands to record the growth rates on a large (27 hectare) block that we have now fully restored to rainforest (after clearing weeds, Oil Palms, rubbish and then planting 30,000 trees). After completing this monitoring, I participated in a two day Rainforest Rescue tree planting event in the Daintree. One of these events took place on 82 Rosewood Road. I’m not sure if you remember what this property was like when we first purchased it, but suffice it to say that the 1500+ dead tyres have now been removed and have gone to the recyclers to be turned into ‘soft fall’ surfaces for children’s playgrounds. A win all round!

There’s something incredibly satisfying about planting healthy rainforest tree seedlings (grown to perfection by our wonderful Daintree nursery) in the ground, knowing that the ‘land has a memory’ and that the seedlings will thrive. All around the planted area, the existing rainforest trees almost shiver in anticipation of the moment when a degraded landscape becomes one of vigour and biodiversity.

We had just over 60 volunteers turn up for the tree planting events, some of whom had come from as far away as Sydney. We managed to plant 2000 trees, and there were smiles all round, even though it’s been raining up there for months and deep slippery mud was the common denominator! The locals tell me they’ve had 4.5 m of rain since January.

Almost difficult to perceive of so much wet, but the trees certainly are loving it!

It’s always a treat to spend time in the Daintree rainforest; to see the results of what support allows us to achieve and preserve…

Madeleine Faught

Chair, Rainforest Rescue

At risk of development – so we acted fast!

June 20th, 2014

We couldn’t take a chance. We had to act immediately.

On Thursday 19 June 2014 we signed the contract of purchase for Lot 13 Forest Creek Road – one of the three properties we are currently trying to protect forever in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

The real estate agent managing Lot 13 warned us many potential buyers had been viewing the property and showing an active interest.

It’s a highly desirable development block that was being heavily marketed because of easy access, flat land and the fact that it’s a wildlife corridor!  Saving it from the chainsaw and bulldozer was an absolute priority!

We just could not let someone buy that pristine rainforest and risk its destruction.

We acted immediately and showed faith in our supporters that you will understand the urgency and chip-in to help save this piece of wilderness!

The purchase of Lot 13 Forest Creek Road will be a major win – its superb intact and vibrant rainforest provides the ‘connectivity’ we’ve been waiting for.

It connects our growing number of Forest Creek properties with the nearby Daintree National Park Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

We have gone out on a limb to protect this rainforest (that is how significant and special we know it is) – now we need you to urgently donate to secure the future of this remarkable ecosystem.

Thank you for your commitment to protecting rainforests forever.

Grant Binns, Managing Director, Rainforest Rescue

Celebrate World Environment Day by saving Daintree Rainforest!

June 5th, 2014

On this World Environment Day let’s take a moment to think about the practical and tangible ways we can protect the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

The Daintree Rainforest is worth protecting forever

Today more than two thirds of the Lowlands remain unprotected – most of the rainforest is in the hands of private owners – and can be developed and the pristine rainforest destroyed at any time.

All hope is not lost though! At Rainforest Rescue we know we can do something about this! But we need your help; your donations to Buy Back the Daintree!

Right now we have identified three pristine blocks that are listed for sale with real estate agents. If we don’t buy them, then more than likely they’ll be sold to people wanting to build a house – or worse still – flatten the rainforest for agriculture or development.

Please donate today and help us protect these rainforests forever.

Donate to protect the Daintree Rainforest

We need your help to buy Lot 13 Forest Creek Road, Forest Creek and Lots 32 and 38 Cape Tribulation Road, Daintree.

These 3 blocks are an urgent priority for Rainforest Rescue to purchase and protect forever because:

  1. All properties are currently listed for sale with real estate agents and under threat of development.
  2. Lot 13 is a flat block with excellent road access, so is at significant risk (the real estate agent handling this property warned land like Lot 13 rarely stays on the market for long).
  3. Location, location, location!
    All properties are in very close proximity to other Rainforest Rescue protected rainforest; Daintree national park; World Heritage areas and/or other protected nature refuges (see map for more information).
  4. Connectivity is the key!
    Connectivity is essential for the wellbeing of the rainforest’s unique and threatened fauna. It provides extended tracts of habitat for wildlife to feed, breed and raise their young.
  5. Lot 13 is home to the rarely seen Bennett’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus).
  6. All three properties are classified as essential habitat for the endangered Southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii).
  7. The rainforest on all these properties is relatively untouched and requires only minimal rehabilitation.
  8. Several plants of limited distribution such as black palms (Normanbya normanbyi), red beech (Dillenia alata) and grey rhodomyrtus (Rhodomyrtus effuse) grow on these properties.

Please join with us on the World Environment Day and stop the destruction of more of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.

Your donation makes you a true protector and rescuer of the rainforest!

Donate to protect the Daintree Rainforest

the beauty of the Daintree

New plans to protect rainforest at Forest Creek

May 1st, 2014

Last year we appealed for donations to purchase land we identified as having high conservation value and urgently requiring development protection. Thanks to donations and grants we protected three of these properties.

In November last year we settled on Lot 16 Forest Close, FOREST CREEK and YESTERDAY (30 April) we settled on two properties adjacent to it, Lots 17 and 18.

These properties have high conservation value, and our surveys revealed an abundance of flora (128 species). Their proximity to the Daintree River also meant they were at very high risk of development.

We must still purchase 13 Forest Creek Road to maximise our conservation efforts at the Rainforest Rescue Nature Refuge and connect two areas of World Heritage Area/National Park.

Assessing conservation value

Only high conservation value land is purchased by Rainforest Rescue. Prospective properties are assessed through a detailed survey undertaken by Advisors to the Board, Allen Sheather, and his partner Barbara Maslen.

Rainforest Rescue’s ten point ‘balanced scorecard’ criteria:

Giant Cycads Lot 17 Forest Close (Photo: Dean Jewell)

1. Does it have connectivity to other protected land?

2. Can invasive weeds be controlled?
3. How much regenerated or revegetated is required?

Development risk
4. Does it have a building DA?
5. Is the terrain suitable for development?
6. Is it outside a gazetted conservation precinct?

Habitat potential

7. Is it classified as essential habitat for the endangered Southern Cassowary?
8. Have threatened species been identified on it?

9. How much clearing and rubbish removal will be required?

10. Value for money in the current property market.

Our ambitious vision is to buy back and protect all remaining high conservation value properties in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest by 2030. We have now rescued 24 properties in the Daintree, but there is still a long way to go.

Please make your donation today and help us Buy Back and Protect the Daintree  - much of the unprotected land is on the market for sale and development!

Clearing the way for reforestation

April 29th, 2014

UPDATE: on the land you’ve helped us protect forever …

Cassowary Conservation Reserve
We are restoring Cassowary Conservation Reserve under our Daintree Plant a Rainforest Project.

Rainforest Rescue’s Land Manager, Joe Reichl, said the first trees planted about three years ago are growing vigorously and have created a forest canopy – the falling leaf litter creates a healthy ecosystem and dropped seeds have begun shooting.

An estimated 180 tonnes of rubbish (nine semi-trailer loads) was removed from the Reserve in the last month – including 13 car bodies, a shed, tank stand, a 24 foot boat trailer and various rotting caravans! An additional five tonnes was carted by hand so as not to disturb delicate plants Joe and his team of workers and volunteers have also destroyed all mature oil palm trees, he estimates there are still over 220 young oil palms left.

Baralba Corridor Nature Refuge

Removing Shed at Rainforest Rescue's Lot 46 Cape Tribulation Road

Removing debris at the Cassowary Conservation Reserve

The Baralba Corridor Nature Refuge is formed by eight Rainforest Rescue properties in the Cow Bay area. This valuable wildlife corridor links two isolated areas of the Daintree National Park/World Heritage area for the endangered southern cassowary. It also protects three vulnerable and 11 rare plants including the only known location of a previously thought extinct species of fern.

We purchased Lots 82 and 83 in Rosewood Road, Cow Bay thanks to donors’ support. Since then we have been gradually restoring these properties. In preparation for tree planting, Joe and his team have been weeding and removing invasive plant species and clearing more than 40 tonnes of debris.