Indigenous People and NGO Grow a Wildlife Corridor in the World’s Oldest Rainforest

May 30, 2024 | Source: Mongabay | by Claire Turrell

Indigenous ranger Jason Petersen remembers how he used to watch the world’s oldest rainforest in wonder as a child. When the rains arrived, they would wash the dust from the trees, revealing the lush colors of the forest. Now, as an adult, he says he hopes his son will experience the same awe as he plants a new wildlife corridor on this same land.

“I hope [our children] will be able to start seeing a positive change. Once the movement of the animals starts from up in the mountains and down into the riparian areas it will be immense,” Petersen says.

In Australia’s Cape Kimberley, environmental charity Climate Force is collaborating with the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people and rangers to create a corridor that runs between two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. To do this, they will need to plant 360,000 trees.

Wildlife habitats in this region have become fragmented. The area where this new forest will be planted is a 213-hectare (526-acre) plot of land that was cleared for cattle in the 1960s and then used as a commercial banana farm until the 1990s. It was choked with invasive Guinea grass and covered in abandoned farm machinery.

“For a good while now our Country [Indigenous land] has been bare,” Petersen told Mongabay.