Mission Beach and Tully landholders help to connect forests from the Daintree to Ingham

This project is helping to reduce threats to rainforest species and ecological communities by improving priority areas through revegetation, weed management and habitat protection, and by finding solutions to cassowary deaths and injuries on roads. Terrain is working with community groups, Traditional Owners, and government organisations on the project. This project is supported by Terrain NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Mission Beach and Tully landholders have joined a strategic action to connect and expand forested areas from the Daintree to Ingham.

Property owners Ray Hunter and Sue Gillett have planted thousands of rainforest trees on their land, while neighbour Renate Habermann is waging a war on weeds at the forest edges of cattle paddocks within her rainforest property bordering Clump Mountain National Park.

They are among 250 property owners and threatened species recovery team members in important cassowary, Mabi forest, and littoral rainforest areas who were contacted by Terrain NRM last year and invited to apply for grants. Projects have ranged from revegetation and weed removal work to nature refuge applications.

Ray and Sue have been planting native trees on their property at Bingil Bay for the past four years. The 53-acre property was covered in guinea grass.

“It was two to three metres high when we bought the land. Now some of the trees are four metres tall. We’ve bought seedlings and grown our own from seeds in cassowary scats. This grant was a real bonus because we could plant another 2,000 trees.”

“The changes we’ve seen have been amazing, including the amount and diversity of birdlife we have now. We knew cassowaries were here when we bought the land, but we didn’t know it was in a cassowary corridor. Now we see them eating native fruits from our trees and bringing in their chicks – it’s such a thrill. You do what you can to help an endangered species like this one.”

Renate has used her grant to clean up the weeds around the cattle paddocks in her property that borders world heritage rainforest.  

“We’re removing the Siam weed, pond apple, lantana, guinea grass… And we’re fencing to keep the cattle out of more than 70 acres of our rainforest. That’s something we wouldn’t have been able to do without help. We’ve already seen the improvements from keeping the cattle out – it’s reducing erosion at the creeks and native seedlings are coming up and rejuvenating the forest.” 

“We are used to seeing cassowaries around the area, but we didn’t know we live in a corridor that goes from Mission Beach through to Kurrimine. Being part of this project has changed our farming behaviour.”  

Other projects in the Mission Beach-Tully area include revegetation and weed control work on a Bingil Bay Rd property through conservation group C4, tree-planting by the Queensland Trust for Nature in Smith’s Gap near El Arish, a voluntary declaration application for private land at Narragon Beach, and work by the Cassowary Coast Regional Council and Djiru and Girringun Traditional Owners to control weeds in littoral rainforest habitat at Clump Point.

Terrain NRM’s Tony O’Malley said grants have ranged from $1000 to $25,000. More will be available later this year.  

“We contacted 250 landholders from across the Wet Tropics region whose properties border world-heritage areas,’’ he said. “These properties also meet criteria ranging from being within the region’s top-six cassowary corridors to being a potential littoral rainforest refugia from sea level rise and storm surges. We give project grants to members of the region’s cassowary, Mabi forest, and littoral rainforest recovery groups as well. The overall goal is to support landholders with the most important habitat for endangered species and ecosystems, in order to maintain that habitat.”
This project is supported by Terrain NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. For more information, visit www.terrain.org.au/rainforest

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