The Daintree rainforest is overflowing with flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the world. It is also believed to be the oldest continual patch of tropical rainforest in existence. With more than half of the world’s rainforests already destroyed, here’s why it is imperative to help support the ‘buy back’ process to ensure this spectacular part of our nation can’t be developed.
HalfCut is an innovative charity created in 2017 which is helping to save the Daintree rainforest in Far North Queensland. In fact, during the covid lockdowns of 2021, they helped raise more than $1.2m for the Daintree buyback program which protected over 500,000 square metres of endangered Daintree rainforest. This is equivalent to 123.55 football fields worth of tropical rainforest.
Here’s what you need to know right now about the Daintree
Two-thirds of the Daintree Lowland Rainforest was excluded from inclusion in the Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area that was declared in 1988. A developer created 1,137 blocks in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. In 1982 a pro-development Queensland State Government re-zoned leasehold and freehold in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest, enabling a developer to subdivide it into 1,137 blocks.
This resulted in the building of over 50km of roads and the clearing and development of high conservation value rainforest for housing. The freehold land between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation has World Heritage values and should be protected in the Daintree National Park.
Why is this such an important cause right now?
“HalfCut is an environmental not-for-profit that invites people to be visual disruptors to raise the urgent awareness that half the world’s forests are destroyed, and regrettably a further 30 percent of the world’s forests are degraded,” explains James Stanton-Cooke (affectionately known as Jimmy HalfCut), who, along with his life partner Jessica Clarke, is the force behind this conversationalist challenge.
He adds, “The latest 2022 State of the Environment Report found that almost half of Australia’s land is now used for grazing and the areas committed to forestry and cropping have increased. More than 6.1 million hectares of primary native forest, which is an area more than six times the size of suburban Melbourne, has been cleared since 1990.”
Over the five years to 2019, nearly 290,000 hectares of primary forest and 343,000 hectares of regrown forest was cleared. Yet another reason to go to HalfCut to raise this urgent awareness and provide proactive tangible outcomes to addressing these issues.
The HalfCut Challenge in August invites the brave to courageously have some hair-larious fun to start conversations about conservation and raise funds for Daintree buyback to be saved from development.
“In the midst of the ongoing climate crisis events – drought, fires, and more recent flooding and pandemic events, saving rainforest and rewilding (tree planting) of our rainforests is needed more than ever. The proof is in the trees for carbon drawn down, increasing biodiversity, water cycles, foods, medicines and giving us clean air to breath,” adds Stanton-Cooke.
Here’s how the ‘buy back system works
HalfCut and two other NFP’s partners – Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Rainforest 4 – joined together with the unique program “Stronger Together” for the buyback high value conservation Lots in the Daintree to expand back into Daintree National Park.
Upon settlement, the title of the property will be transferred to the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, who will then manage the transfer of the title for the land to the Queensland Government. The process of purchasing the property and transferring it into the national parks estate will likely take between six to 12 months.
“It is about righting a wrong in more ways than one as money raised also helped the Daintree rainforest now be jointly managed by Traditional Owners and Queensland National Parks. This now means the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation (JYAC) now is an integral part of managing the conservation of the Daintree rainforest so it will always be protected,” says Jessica Clarke.
The team behind HalfCut helped to commemorate this achievement with a Welcome to Country smoking ceremony with traditional owners.
In 2022 the goal is to once again crack a million dollars in donations. There are three Daintree rainforests Lots supporters are aiming to save including:
- Lot 6 – 3.75 hectares located in Forest Creek, Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland (more information here)
- Lot 93 – 8.09 hectares located in Diwan, Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland (more information here)
- Lot 197 – 1.015 hectares located in Cow Bay, Daintree Lowland Rainforest, Queensland (more information here)
Here’s why these are particularly important lots to save
All 24 lots saved have had intensive surveys by respected ecologist and botanist Kristopher Kupsch who has recently encountered what is thought to be a new species of Gardenia in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.
It is Kupsch’s job to determine what endangered and threatened species are on the lots, what invasive species and if a new potential species are potentially found. With 25 years of experience in the Daintree he has never encountered this species before.
“When I first saw the Gardenia (Atractocarpus sp. nov.), I wondered what it was because the specimen looked different to all known species in the Rubiaceae family but matched Atractocarpus, being similar to the Hairy Gardenia (Atractocarpus hirtus),” Kupsch says, adding that the Hairy Gardenia is common in the Daintree lowlands.
The iconic and colourful cassowary is one of the most recognisable icons of the Wet Tropics. This striking bird with its brilliant blue and purple head and neck, red wattles, and amber eyes, appears extensively on promotional brochures and souvenirs throughout the region. However, it is an endangered species and its future is uncertain.
Saving these lots is providing the much needed habitat required for their survival. Cassowaries prefer lowland Daintree areas, where regrettably cars and pet owners’ dogs are impacting cassowaries and chicks’ population, along with feral pigs eating the eggs and chicks and competing for their food. It is now estimated that the gardener of the Daintree, the cassowary, a keystone species, numbers less than 2,500 in the Daintree. A male cassowary with three chicks was recently sighted on Lot 93.
What exactly is HalfCut about?
HalfCut day is Wednesday 31st August 2022, when anyone wanting to support the plight of the Daintree is welcome to accept a crazy hair challenge. Created by James Standon-Cooke (affectionately known as Jimmy HalfCut) and life partner Jessie Clarke, this environmental activist couple is challenging you to cut off half of your hair, beard or moustache. If you feel like splashing out in colour then dye your locks a different shade or braid half of your hair, undercut or even get a normal haircut showing half of the length removed. More recently half stylish face makeup, baking goods, and even the odd half mowed lawn have been popular. It’s anything HalfCut to help to raise awareness and money for this great cause. Ultimately it’s about raising awareness for conservation.
It is all about doing your bit to help to protect the oldest rainforest in the world. Don’t feel like doing the challenge but know someone aged 18+ who will? Then dare them to accept and sponsor them through this registered charity. Dozens of childcare centres, schools, Universities and businesses have rallied behind this campaign to save the Daintree forest.
All money donated helps protect Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland which provides crucial habitat for many endangered species such as the Musky-Rat Kangaroo, Waterfall Frog, Southern Cassowary and Northern Quoll.
The Daintree is the most biologically diverse in the world with lush fauna and includes wildlife such as 65 percent of different kinds of native butterflies and bats, 35 percent of the world’s types of frogs, and 20 percent of Australian bird species.
Here’s how your new haircut could help
Every $2.50 is one more square metre saved of the world’s oldest rainforest. Shave half your beard, cut, colour, braid your hair or simply get a haircut.
World HalfCut Day is on 31st August. Visit www.Go.HalfCut.org to find out more and become an environmentally friendly hero. Then share your new hair do (or hair don’t!) on social media (using the hashtag #HalfCut) with friends and family to help protect the oldest rainforest in the world. It is up to you how long you stay HalfCut. It may be for a day, a week or even a month.
It is all about raising money, spreading the word and having fun. The more you raise the more you’ll help this important cause and all donations over $2 are tax deductible. You can even create a team to join together to have a hair-raising adventure and help a great cause.
Don’t want to mess with your perfect locks? Then help spread the word by buying a HalfCut t-shirt, bag, hat or hoodie and save 10 square metres of rainforest for life per purchase, or simply make a donation to this great cause. Visit go.halfcut.org
How can you help save the Daintree?
Reader’s Digest has our very own HalfCut squad to sign up to and/or donate to save the three Lots this August, reaching the $1m target goal. You can engage in the HalfCut Challenge this August and/or donate to the cause.
If your interested in saving you very own Daintree lot, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
HalfCut, with partners JYAC and R4, hold annual Save the Daintree tours, with the next tour in October 2022. See the previous April 2022 Save the Daintree tour handover of ten Daintree lots here for an idea of the program for all HalfCutters and donors to attend.
- Donate $2.50 and save a sqm of the Daintree rainforest
- Donate $62 and save 24.8 sqm of the Daintree rainforest
- Donate $112 and save 44.8 sqm of the Daintree rainforest
- Donate $236 and save 94.4 sqm of the Daintree rainforest
- Donate $516 and save 206.4 sqm of the Daintree rainforest
- Donate $10,000 and save a space equivalent to the size of a football field
- $1 million of donations willsave 400,000 sq metres or 98 football fields of Gondwanaland Daintree rainforest
All funds raised will be spent on Daintree land purchase and protection.
All images: Supplied.