Conservation Value of the Daintree

The Daintree

The area known as the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is a narrow, 23km strip of tropical coastal lowland rainforest between the mountains of the Great Dividing Range, the Daintree River Estuary, and Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland. It is located two hours drive north of the city of Cairns.

In many parts of this narrow strip, the hilly slopes of the Great Dividing Range fall quite steeply into the Coral Sea leaving only about 70km of lowland including mangroves.

Approximately half of the rainforest in these lowlands has been cleared – click here to read more about the History of Development in the Daintree. The remaining rainforest is of exceptionally high biodiversity and conservation value.

Widely acknowledged by scientists as the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, the Daintree is estimated to have been evolving and thriving for as many as 185 million years.

The Daintree Rainforests contains an almost complete record of the evolution of plant life on Earth and has more ancient families of flowering plants than anywhere else in the world, including the entire Amazon jungle. From a total of 19 primitive flowering plant families on Earth, 12 families are represented in the Daintree region.

The Idiospermum australiense (aka the Idiot Fruit), which is only found in the Daintree Rainforest, is one of the rarest and most primitive flowering plants known and scientists believe is a vital link for the search into the origins of flowering plants.

There are 77 rare or threatened species of plants found in the Daintree National Park such as the vulnerable Trailing sundew (Drosera prolifera), the near-threatened Yellow siris (Archidendropsis xanthoxylon), and the endangered Mangrove orchid (Dendrobium mirbelianum).

The Daintree National Park is also home to some incredible animals including 25 rare or threatened species of animals such as the near-threatened Bennett’s tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus), the endangered Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii), and the vulnerable Tapping green-eyed frog (Litoria serrata). In fact, the Daintree Rainforest is home to 30% of Australia’s frog, reptile, and marsupial species, 65% of Australia’s bat and butterfly species as well as 18% of all bird species. Not to mention the 12,000 insect species!

Many of these plant and animal species are endemic to the region, meaning that they are found nowhere else on the planet.

Conservation Value of the Daintree

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