Rainforest saved with $23m buy-up

A GROUP that has bought up parts of the Daintree rainforest in Far North Queensland to protect it from development has expanded its work into Tasmania.

The move by the Mullumbimby-based Rainforest Rescue was prompted by the timber company Gunns putting 30,000ha of its Tasmanian holding up for auction in June.

About 2500ha has been sold, perhaps to other logging interests.

But when nearly 28,000ha of the land failed to meet the reserve price, a group headed by conservationist Jan Cameron stepped in and bought it for $23 million.

The purchase represents 1 per cent of all private freehold land in Tasmania, and will stop logging companies buying it.

Ms Cameron, founder of the Kathmandu clothing chain, is now seeking help with the funding, and Rainforest Rescue is looking to raise $80,000 for an 80ha segment.

At $1000 a hectare, a donation of $25 will keep 250sq m of pristine rainforest safe from logging, Rainforest Rescue CEO Kelvin Davies said.

“Many of our members have been passionate about saving land in the Daintree, and we have bought 13 properties there – the most recent of 28ha,” he said.

“Some now want to do the same in Tasmania.”

The block Rainforest Rescue is concerned with is known as Forest Lodge, 80ha in north-east Tasmania. It is on the Rattler Range, surrounded by the Mt Victoria Forest Reserve. The old-growth forest has many large trees, including myrtle beech and sassafras.

“These are ancient species that evolved from trees growing in Gondwana over 130 million years ago, before eucalypts and acacias evolved. It is the perfect habitat for rare and endangered species,” Rainforest rescue said.

Donations to help protect Forest Lodge can be made to Rainforest Rescue via www.rainforestrescue.org.au, or at 6684 4360.

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