Four new nature refuges

FOUR NEW NATURE REFUGES DECLARED

Four new nature refuges, together covering more than 300 hectares of land, have been declared in the Wet Tropics region.

Landholders in the Kuranda, Innisfail and Tully regions have been granted nature refuge status for their properties by the Queensland Government, protecting habitat and securing wildlife corridors between national parks.

A “dream come true”

Kuranda landowner Di Daniels said it was a “dream come true” to know rainforest on her 38-hectare property would be protected for future generations.

“We’re really privileged to be living in this environment with beautiful rainforest, native animals and birds,’’ Ms Daniels said. “We wanted to make sure our rainforest was conserved long after we’re gone.’’

Another nature refuge is a 250-hectare property bordering the Basilisk National Park in the Innisfail region. Owner Peter Rowles said natural ecosystems needed to be connected across the Wet Tropics landscape for the survival of wildlife.

“Habitat on private land provides these essential connections which need to be protected,’’ he said. “We feel privileged to have been able to contribute to the long-term protection through a nature refuge.”

The two other nature refuges are 15 hectares of critical cassowary corridor at Smith’s Gap near Tully where land was bought and revegetated by Queensland Trust for Nature and local conservation group C4, and 27 hectares at Kuranda in the ‘Fairyland Link’ wildlife corridor.

What are nature refuges?

Nature refuges are voluntary conservation agreements between landholders and the Queensland Government which conserve the land’s significant cultural and natural resources in perpetuity, while allowing compatible and sustainable land uses. Nature refuge agreements are also binding on future landholders.

Terrain NRM’s Tony O’Malley said it was wonderful that the nature refuge option was available to landholders wanting to protect their habitat.

“A lot of important Wet Tropics habitat is on private land,’’ he said. “These new nature refuges are in really important wildlife corridors. Landholders are making a priceless contribution – they are helping to bridge gaps in world heritage areas and secure our wildlife’s future.”

Terrain NRM funded the nature refuge assessments for three of the new refuges through its Building Rainforest Resilience project, via a grant to Kuranda Conservation in the northern region and grants to private landholders in the south. The Building Rainforest Resilience project is supported by Terrain NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Landholder-led conservation

Kuranda Conservation’s Jax Bergersen said the community’s long-term goal was nature refuges right along the existing world-heritage cassowary corridor.

“Linking world heritage rainforest areas with prime ecological blocks of land is a way forward, along with the revegetation work that’s been happening for decades in this region,” she said.

ABOUT THE NEW NATURE REFUGES

BASILISK NATURE REFUGE

West of Moresby near Innisfail
Protects 249.5ha of remnant forest bordering the Basilisk National Park.
Increases the area’s long-term capacity to protect threatened ecosystems and species.
Includes a large tract of remnant vegetation – from mesophyll to notophyll vine forest, open eucalypt woodland and vine forests – and both ‘endangered’ and ‘of concern’ regional ecosystems.
A valuable wildlife corridor for the endangered southern cassowary and suitable habitat for other threatened species.

GURRBUM NATURE REFUGE

Smith’s Gap area, about 10km north-east of Tully
Protects 15.5 hectares of remnant and re-planted mesophyll vine forest in critical cassowary habitat.
Connects habitat from Japoon National Park, Tully Gorge National Park and Walter Hill Range Conservation Park.
Part of the longest and widest east-west rainforest corridor in Australia and the longest coast to mountaintop corridor, allowing wildlife movement for long-term species viability and resilience.
Queensland Trust for Nature and local conservation group C4 bought this land in 2019 and are working, with the help of the community, to restore the rainforest ecosystem.

RAINY MOUNTAIN NATURE REFUGE

About 7km north-west of Kuranda.
Protects 38 hectares of habitat.
Connects with Kuranda National Park.
Provides habitat for a number of threatened species including the endangered southern cassowary and the critically endangered Kuranda treefrog.

DODS PLACE NATURE REFUGE

About 1km west of Kuranda.
Protects 27.5 hectares of habitat.
Enhances the Fairyland Link wildlife corridor.
Provides habitat for a number of threatened species including the endangered southern cassowary and the critically endangered Kuranda treefrog.

Find out more about Terrain NRM’s Building Rainforest Resilience Project.

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