Indigenous Traditional Owners Take Back World’s Oldest Rainforest

In north Queensland, Australia, the heritage-listed Daintree—the world’s oldest rainforest—has been reclaimed by the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people, the Indigenous traditional owners. In a historic deal with the state government, the Daintree along with Ngalba Bulal, Kalkajaka and Hope Islands national parks will be handed back and the traditional custodians will manage them with assistance from the government for some time, but the goal is for it to be solely run by the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people. In 1988 the park became UNESCO-listed, but regarding environmental—rather than cultural—significance. As Chrissy Grant (traditional owner and the incoming chair of the Wet Tropics Management Authority board) says, “There was no consultation with Aboriginal people and no recognition of the values of the… oldest rainforest in the world, being continuously occupied by Aboriginal people. Wherever you go there are communities within the tropical rainforest.” The Daintree joins a hopefully growing list of sites taken back by Indigenous groups, along with Uluru and Kakadu. Read more at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of Kerry Trapnell/Queensland Conservation Council