Critical Land Purchase Establishes the Misty Mountain Wildlife Corridor, Connecting 3 Million Acres of Rainforest in Australia

Lauren Colegrove

May 30, 2017

NewsProtected Areas

With support from Rainforest Trust, South Endeavour Trust purchased a strategic 173.5-acre property at risk of deforestation that is a vital piece in connecting an extensive rainforest corridor from the uplands to the coast in Queensland, northern Australia.

  • The Misty Mountain Wildlife Corridor re-establishes a continuous stretch of rainforest from the Australian coast to the uplands. Photo by South Endeavour Trust.

This May, Rainforest Trust supported South Endeavour Trust’s purchase of a priority site that is crucial to the long-term conservation of upland biodiversity in tropical Australia. Protecting the 173.5-acre property links a wildlife corridor to help complete a nearly 3 million-acre rainforest mosaic in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The Misty Mountain Wildlife Corridor is essential for the natural movements of wildlife across this diverse landscape, as it re-establishes a continuous stretch of rainforest from the Australian coast to the uplands. For many threatened species, this ability to disperse enhances their capacity to adapt to climate change, which is projected to have severe impacts on species in tropical Australia’s higher elevations.

“The fragmentation of the unique rainforests of Australia’s Wet Tropics poses huge challenges for biodiversity,” said Tim Hughes, South Endeavour Trust’s Executive Director. “This is particularly so in the heavily cleared upland regions of the Wet Tropics.”

“This acquisition closes a critical gap for connectivity in these upland rainforests and will benefit a wide range of threatened and near threatened species.”

The uplands of Australia’s wet tropics support more vertebrate species than any other landscape in the country, including species such as the Southern Cassowary, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo and Lemuroid Ringtail Possum. Recent surveys in the area around the purchased property recorded the presence of 369 vascular plant species and 92 bird species. In addition, three Endangered frogs are known from the area: the Common Mist Frog, Lace-eyed Tree Frog and Torrent Tree Frog.

  • The Endangered Common Mist Frog is found in the Misty Mountain Wildlife Corridor. Photo by South Endeavour Trust.

“While this region is a conservation priority, the high altitude rainforests on rich volcanic basalt have long been targeted for deforestation and cattle ranching,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, Rainforest Trust’s CEO.

“This small land purchase is now connecting a vast contiguous mosaic of montane to lowland rainforest to the Great Barrier Reef, helping create one of the most important tropical land and seascapes on our planet.”

In December, South Endeavour Trust and the Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection will sign an agreement to officially designate the purchased property as the Misty Mountain Nature Refuge. Plans are also underway to strengthen the wildlife corridor through reforestation of degraded lands immediately adjacent to the corridor.

  • Souther Cassowaries, some of Australia's most iconic species, benefit from the protected area. Photo by South Endeavour Trust.

Lean more about Australia’s Misty Mountain Wildlife Corridor.