FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Rainforest Rescue FAQ’s
How can I get involved? Is my donation tax-deductible? What does Rainforest Rescue do? Isn’t the Daintree already protected? How does Rainforest Rescue decide which properties to purchase? Find these answers and more within our Rainforest Rescue FAQs.
Have some questions that are not answered below? Get in touch with our friendly team today.
The Daintree (Julay Madja) is a World Heritage site for good reason – protecting its integrity is essential for both our ongoing understanding of the natural processes of ecosystems as well as the insights that the Daintree flora and fauna bring to science.
Many people assume that the creation of the Daintree National Park and subsequent World Heritage Listing has protected all of the Daintree from development, however the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is zoned for leasehold and freehold placing it at risk of development. Read more about the Daintree here.
The lower Daintree suffered significant degradation through land clearing and agriculture for many decades. In 1982, a pro-development Queensland State Government re-zoned leasehold and freehold in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. Even though significant protest was launched, this resulted in the building of over 50km of roads and the clearing and development of high conservation value rainforest for housing. Properties in this area are at risk of development with no protection. Read more about the history of development in the Daintree here.
Rural residential development – Clearing of the rainforest for residential development remains a threat to the Daintree Lowland Rainforest leading to fragmentation, displacement of wildlife, and increasing susceptibility to invasive weeds all threaten the biodiversity values which make the Daintree Rainforest so unique.
Fragmentation – Habitat fragmentation caused by rural residential development and clearing for farming makes it difficult for plants and animals to move from one rainforest patch to another. It can also limit breeding populations and make species more vulnerable to extinction, particularly in small, isolated pockets.
Climate change – Climate change is becoming a major concern to the biodiversity of the Daintree Rainforest. Global warming could decrease the habitat of many endemic vertebrate species which live in the cooler upland and montane rainforests, leaving only isolated pockets of rainforest for them to live in. It is predicted that 7 frog species, 5 mammal species,3 bird species, and 3 skink species would lose over half their present habitat with only a one-degree temperature increase. (Protecting and growing rainforest is climate action.)
Weeds – Weeds disrupt ecosystems, compete with and displace native plants, reduce food and shelter for native species and lend to soil erosion.
Feral animals – Feral animals predate on native species, compete for food and habitat, degrade habitat and water systems, cause soil erosion, carry disease and spread invasive plants.
Properties can cost upwards of $75,000 for an undeveloped hectare to far more for larger parcels, and prices have been on the rise as they are nationally. We are fortunate that often those who sell land to Rainforest Rescue do so with the intention that we continue what they started, as many people have bought their blocks with the intention of minimum impact on the environment – because they love it. And while this isn’t always the case, it happens enough that it’s an inspiration to us.
However, our work doesn’t stop at purchasing the land. As property owners, Rainforest Rescue pays council rates and maintains the properties in perpetuity. This includes removing and controlling weeds. Read more about how we select properties here.
We target only blocks of intact rainforest habitat that are ecologically rich, not already protected and not developed (no buildings on the property), and have good habitat connectivity. Prospective properties are assessed through a detailed survey undertaken by our Daintree Ecological Advisor, Allen Sheather, and his partner Barbara Maslen. All blocks must qualify for rescue through Rainforest Rescue’s ten-point ‘balanced scorecard’ assessment. This includes criterion relating to Location and Connectivity, Vegetation, Development Risk, Habitat Potential, Clearing, and Value. Read more about how we select properties here.
Rainforest Rescue maintains ownership of the properties we’ve rescued with only a couple of properties being gifted back to National Parks years ago. We purchase vulnerable rainforest properties to protect their genuine biodiversity and conservation values. We then initiate the process of further protection through the official creation of Nature Refuges, which protect the properties from potential abuse or misuse in the future and are attached to the title.
Our mission is to protect biodiverse rainforest forever. Should the world around us change, or our organisation wind down, we have protected these properties by ensuring that they would go to an organisation of integrity with an aligned purpose and vision. We take what we do very seriously and we will go to whatever lengths to protect what has been rescued.
Rainforest Rescue does not advocate for the use of chemicals, and we actively seek natural alternatives and strategies to minimise their use. The overall aim of our regeneration work is, that once our planted seedlings grow to a stage where their canopy starts to close over, the shade reduces weeds and the leaf litter generated by the canopy helps to reduce weeds.
Weed management is a complex issue, and the methods for controlling and suppressing weeds need to reflect that. The use of chemical sprays nowadays is minimal and the efforts to reduce any reliance on chemicals are ongoing. Rainforest Rescue has reduced our use of chemicals by 90% and continues to strive to reduce that ever further. Please click here to read our blog about the Weapons in the War of Weed Management.
After purchase, our team undertakes any necessary restoration work by removing rubbish and weeds; performs ongoing weed maintenance and pest control; and pays all council rates. If the block meets the criteria, we apply for Nature Refuge status to ensure the land is protected forever. Read about Kurranji Bubu, one of our protection stories here.
We collaborate closely with our conservation partners and scientific advisors to measure the impact of our work. Some of the metrics we use include:
- Seed collection and successful propagation, delineated by species
- Water quality flowing into the Great Barrier Reef, as measured in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Legacy. At the last test, our largest regeneration site recorded ZERO traces of sedimentation flowing into waterways.
- Increased provision of wildlife corridors – Connecting safe, rescued, and restored wildlife properties is absolutely vital to protecting (and increasing) population numbers of endangered and threatened Daintree flora and fauna. (We also like to call this the Cassowary measure!)
- Number of trees propagated
- Number of trees planted
- Number of hectares protected
- Extension and Creation of Wildlife Corridors
- Number of Wildlife Refuges
Protecting and restoring rainforest is climate action.
To help mitigate the impacts of climate change, development, and other threats to the Daintree rainforests unprotected, rich habitat (north and south of the river), we need to plant more trees and to plant more trees, we need to grow more trees. Including our existing one, there are four native nurseries currently operating in the Daintree, with a combined output of approximately 50,000 trees. At the most. This is not enough.
At full capacity, it is projected that the new nursery will be capable of growing 150,000 trees per year—providing for the replanting of as many as 25 hectares of rainforest habitat every year! Read more about our new Native Nursery here.
The team at Rainforest Rescue adores wildlife, but we are unable to assist with wildlife rescues or injured wildlife. We’ve included some contacts below that may be able to assist.
- WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation
For all things NSW wildlife rescue please click here. For interstate rescues, click here.
- Far North Queensland Wildlife Rescue
For all things FNQ wildlife rescue please click here.
- Australian Fauna Care
Search for a local wildlife rescuer by clicking here.
For information specific to Cassowaries, click here.
Rainforest Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation that has been protecting and restoring rainforests since 1999. We do this by purchasing properties of high conservation value rainforest and protecting their biodiversity. We also restore rainforest through planting, maintenance, and weed removal. Read about our strategy here. Learn about our projects here.
Rainforest Rescue is an Australian Company Limited by Guarantee, managed by a Board of Directors with 7 members, who contribute their service on a voluntary basis. We also have a public membership program that enables our supporters to attend and vote at our Annual General Meeting (AGM).
We are listed on the Australian government’s Register of Environmental Organisations which provides us with tax-deductible gift recipient status, enabling Australian residents to make tax-deductible donations to the organisation, as well as the Australian Charities & Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC). Our finances are audited annually & publicly available on our ACNC profile (and on our website here). We are an organisational member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) and we are FIA Code Compliant.
If you’re ever unsure about who’s involved with which charity, or whether your donation to them will be tax-deductible you can always check the Australian Charities & Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) website – they have a search functionality at https://www.acnc.gov.au/ which allows you to search a charity name to view the financials, see if they have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Status, as well as view responsible people & the history of charities that are registered with them.
Rainforest Rescue is DGR-registered, and because we abide by significant governance requirements (as above), this entitles donors to receive a tax deduction on their gifts to support this work. We are the only organisation that is buying properties in the Daintree for protection that is DGR-registered.
We work with Traditional Owners, landowners, conservation partners, businesses, and philanthropic groups to protect the land forever. Our Daintree staff work closely with conservation partners and the Traditional Owners to manage and restore blocks, as well as collect and grow seeds in our current nursery.
Some of our conservation partners include Great Barrier Reef Legacy, Queensland Trust for Nature, Jabalbina Aboriginal Corporation and Greenfleet. Read more about our conservation partners here. We also work with the Wet Tropics Management Authority, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, and TerrainNRM.
Rainforest Rescue is in discussion with Jabalbina’s leadership about how rescued land can be given to Traditional Owners for forever protection, and working with them to find solutions that will best serve the land.
Working respectfully with Jabalbina is very important to us. We have established an MOU that defines our intentions to deepen our work together, from protection to restoration, in ways that empower Jabalbina and Rainforest Rescue staff and increase support for the protection of the Daintree – Julay Madja.
Our team in the Daintree works closely with the Eastern Kuku Yalanji, the Traditional Owners of the Daintree (Julay Madja) across all areas of land restoration and maintenance. This includes planting trees and sharing knowledge about the plants and animals in the area. We are also in the process of creating jobs within Rainforest Rescue at the current and new Native Nurseries to increase our understanding of plants and their cultural history and uses with Traditional Owners as well as creating pathways to new vocations.
Working respectfully with Jabalbina and the Eastern Kuku Yalanji is very important to Rainforest Rescue. We have established an MOU that defines our intentions to deepen our work together, from protection to restoration, in ways that empower Jabalbina and Rainforest Rescue staff and increase support for the protection of the Daintree – Julay Madja.
Rainforest Rescue is a DGR-registered charity and has charitable gift status. All donations over $2 AUD are tax deductible. We are also listed on the Australian government’s Register of Environmental Organisations.
To maintain this status, we are audited annually and this information is publicly available on the website of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits commission. We are also required to have a minimum of 50 active members who are invited to participate in our Annual General Meeting, every year. We are also a member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia and we are FIA compliant.
We receive income from a number of sources including individual donations and bequests, philanthropic grants, and business sponsorship. You can view a breakdown of our income sources and how it is allocated in our most recent annual report. Read our 2020-21 Annual Report or view our 2020-21 Financial Report.
Funds received are used to rescue (purchase), restore and conserve land in the lower Daintree. This may include:
- Purchasing blocks of high ecological value rainforest (we have rescued 40 so far)
- Maintaining and protecting the land purchased, including paying all council rates
- Operating a native nursery that follows best practice horticultural processes
- Planting and restoring former cane fields and cattle pastures to create nature refuges and wildlife corridors, and to increase the habitat footprint for rare and threatened species that rely on rainforest habitat for survival
- Coordinating annual tree planting days that bring communities together and raise awareness of the importance of the Daintree
- Coordinating new monthly tree plantings with the local community
- Building and staffing a new, high-capacity Daintree Native Nursery. Coming in Summer 2022!
- Employing a small team of 8-11 people whose work facilitates the above activities, oversees our conservation partnerships, engages the broader community, and raises awareness of the importance of the Daintree. We are also grateful to dedicated volunteers in the Daintree who provide ecological and strategic advice, as well as impact reporting.
Since 2021 Rainforest Rescue has directed a portion of our funding to the Rainforest Rescue Fund (R2) to ensure we are able to move quickly to purchase high-conservation value properties when they become available, without having to create an appeal. This gives us greater negotiation power when purchasing to ensure value for money. To date, we have purchased 2 rainforest parcels using this fund.
Thank you for asking! We welcome you in joining us to Protect Rainforests Forever.
There are a number of ways you can donate to support our work including one-off or monthly donations; bequests and planned gifts; workplace giving and living gifts. For more information visit our Individual giving page here and our Business giving page here. Alternatively, you can send us an email or simply call us.
First of all, a MASSIVE THANK YOU for prioritising the importance of growing the Daintree. There are a number of ways you can fundraise for Rainforest Rescue. Click here for more information in how you can get involved in our work. For information specifically related to starting your own fundraiser, click here.
We love partnering with businesses that share our vision for the future. Our Partners for Protection play a critical role in supporting our work and raising awareness of the importance of the Daintree. We have a number of ways your business can get involved.
Firstly, thank you! We welcome you all Rainforest Rescuers from around the globe. There are a few ways you can donate, such as:
- GlobalGiving – All donations are tax-deductible for donors who are US taxpayers, and all projects on GlobalGiving.org have been pre-qualified for 501(c)(3) equivalency status. UK taxpayers paying in GBP are eligible for Gift Aid. For full details, click here.
- Chuffed – Chuffed.org has in-built tax deductible receipting for our Australian, US, and Canadian charity campaigns and built-in Gift Aid Declarations for our UK charity campaigns. For full details, click here.
- PayPal Giving Fund – Donations made through PayPal Giving Fund may be eligible for tax deductibility. PayPal Giving Fund recommends you check with your tax accountant as tax laws vary by country and region. Click here for their Donor Terms of Service.
- Facebook – Donations made through Facebook may be eligible for tax deductibility. Facebook recommends you check with your tax accountant as tax laws vary by country and region. Click here for a related support article.
If you’re ever unsure about who’s involved with which charity, or whether your donation to them will be tax-deductible you can always check the Australian Charities & Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) website – they have a search functionality at https://www.acnc.gov.au/which allows you to search a charity name to view the financials, see if they have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Status, as well as view responsible people & the history of charities that are registered with them.
Rainforest Rescue headquarters (RR HQ) is in Byron Bay, NSW on Arakwal Country within the Bundjalung Nation. RR HQ hosts a team of four staff members and was recently relocated from Mullumbimby, NSW, where the organisation was founded.
Our on-the-ground conservation and restoration work takes place in Daintree, Qld (Julay Madja) on Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bubu. This is where our Land Management team, Nursery team, and Ecological Advisors are based.
Our Partnerships Director works from Meanjin (Brisbane).
In addition to staff, board members, and advisors, we have the support of pro-bono partners, interns, and volunteers.
Rainforest Rescue is a Company Limited by Guarantee and has 7 board members who meet quarterly to provide governance support and ensure that the organisation is making progress towards our mission while being operated ethically and efficiently.
We also have a general membership of 63 individuals who meet annually at the Annual General Meeting to provide oversight of the board of directors and to ensure that the organisation is performing ethically and efficiently. In 2021 we renewed the membership completely.
To learn more about our governance structure and history, please read our 2020-21 Annual Report here.
Children and Learning
- ‘Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea’ by Jeannie Baker
- Eva-Marie Welsh’s Books
- ‘Faunaverse’ by Alexander & Jane Dudley
- Song Bird Book Series by Karen Tyrrell
- ‘Heartwood’ by Pollyanna Darling
Our friends at Wet Tropics Management Authority also have some educational resources available online.
Know of other great books and educational resources? Let us know so we can add them to the list.
Rainforest Rescue has worked with many zoos, conservation parks, and their foundations nationally and worldwide to get the word out on Daintree native flora and fauna—in particular with the Save the Cassowary campaign which invoked lots of support and engagement with schools in Australia. We provide educational presentations to schools about the importance of the Daintree rainforest and as a result, many Next Gen Rainforest Rescuers are popping up in schools everywhere! Our Daintree Nursery Manager intends to have a big kids’ focus for the New Native Nursery—ensuring that school-age kids can get direct access to tree planting activities and education.
When you give generously, you become part of a committed team of individuals who collectively are helping to preserve some of the most biodiverse habitats and the species that live within them on this planet. Become a Rainforest Rescuer today!