tropical Rainforest title

Daintree,QLD
Australia

There are tropical rainforests in many parts of the world but
Daintree is the one closest to my own home in Australia.

Tropical Rainforests in general

Tropical Rainforests are dense, wet forests, found in high rainfall
regions close to the equator. The high rainfall (at least 100 inches
annually) and steady warm temperatures produce luxurious forest
growth.

Tropical Rainforests have closed canopies which allow very little
sunlight (round 12%) to reach the forest floor. Rainforests play a
very important role in our planet's environment. They contain an
amazing range of different plants and animals. More than half of
all the earth's species of plants and animals live inside tropical
rainforests.

Many of these species live only inside the forests, so the survival
of millions of unique creatures depends on how well we look after
our remaining rainforests.

Each level of the forest from the tops of the trees to the
forest floor supports it's own flora and fauna and they all
work together to maintain the forest. On the forest floor it is
very hot, humid and stagnant for there is little circulation of the air.
The forest floor is always damp and shady. The lower canopy consists
mainly of young trees halted in growth from lack of sunlight. Then
there is the main canopy which consists of some fully grown trees and palms.
This canopy can be as high as one hundred sixty feet tall. Trees and shrubs
generally have elongated crowns. Each leave is set at the best angle to
catch as much sunlight as possible.

Rainforests in Danger

Rainforests used to cover 14% of the Earth's land. Now they cover
less than 6%. Most of the rainforests have been destroyed in the last 50
years. In fact, rainforests are disappearing at a frightening speed:
150 acres per minute or 75 million acres per year. I was staggered
when I read this and found it very hard to believe. I rechecked this
information and found it to be a reliable estimate. Horrifying isn't it?

The biggest threat to the rainforest is the human. From deforestation
for timber and development to pollution,the world's rainforests are
in danger.
 

Daintree Rainforest

The rest of my project is about the Daintree as this
is the closest rainforest to where I live.
Daintree /Cape Tribulation is situated on the east coast
of Far North Queensland in an area also known as the Wet Tropics.
This area (900,000 hectares) was granted international protection
through its addition in 1988 to the World Heritage list, an agreement
signed by more than 100 countries and designed to preserve areas of
ecological importance. The Daintree is also believed to be the
oldest living rainforest in the world (110 million years old). There
are surviving species of the earliest flowering trees which first
appeared over 100 million years ago when dinosaurs ruled the land.
It is also the second largest virgin tract of rainforest after
the Amazon rainforest in South America.

The flashing cursor shows where Daintree is situated.

Rainforest areas of Australia         this is where Daintree is situated
 

The Greater Daintree area starts with the upland rainforests
of the coastal mountains which merge with the lowland
rainforests of the coastal plains. Nearer the sea these vast
rainforests give way to the mangroves of the Daintree River and other
estuaries, and at places such as Cape Tribulation are separated from
fringing coral reef by a mere hundred metres of beach. Further out to sea
this coastal fringe reef is replaced by the main body of the
Great Barrier Reef. It is truly a magnificent and breathtaking
sight.

Daintree overlooking Cape Tribulation

Daintree with Cape Tribulation in the background.
Image courtesy of Jungle Tours.

Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation
 

The Daintree River is about 150 kilometres long. From its source in
rainforests high up on the Atherton Tablelands, the river travels
north and east before descending south eastwards to the coast.

Daintree River

Wildlife of the Daintree

In the Daintree there is an enormous range of plants
and animals to be found including tree kangaroos, flying foxes,
cassowaries , dragon lizards, salt water crocodiles, tree
frogs, Giant Birdwing Butterflies and countless
species of trees, ferns and fungi. There are over
455 bird species alone including the Great Billed Heron,
Black Bittern and little Kingfisher.

One particular animal unique to the Northern Queensland
Rainforests is the MUSKY RAT-KANGAROO This little
creature feeds among the leaf litter on insects, other
invertebrates and fallen fruits.
It is most active in the early morning and late afternoon but sleeps at
night and through the middle of the day in a substantial nest of
vegetation, often placed between the bulbous roots of a rainforest
tree.
On the ground, it moves with a "bunny hop", extending the
forelegs then bringing both hindlegs forward. When startled
it moves with an extension of this gait into a series of
bounds.
rat-kangaroo.gif

At least in juvenile animals, the mobile first toe of the hind foot
is used to grip branches when climbing in undergrowth. The moderately
prehensile, scaly tail is used to carry nesting material.
Sexual maturity is reached at about 13 months and mating takes place
from February to July. Being a marsupial is gives
birth to an incompletely developed baby that is then carried
and suckles milk in it's mother's pouch.The female has four teats
in a forwardly opening pouch and usually rears two young, which are
left in the nest after vacating the pouch

The Musky Rat Kangaroo is considered sparse but not
endangered at this stage and with the continuation of
keeping it's habitat preserved, it has a very good
chance of being round for a very long time.

BIBLIOGRAPHY and CREDITS.

Unfortunately there does not seem to be an abundance of information
regarding the Daintree Rainforest on the net, but I thank and acknowledge
the following sources of information:-

WEBSTERS Australian Mammals CD Rom

Musky Rat-Kangaroo Photo courtesy of L.Robinson.

Photos courtesy of Howard, Daintree School,
Daintree Tourism Authority and the Queensland
Government.

Please note this page was made in July 1999 for an online project
and will not be updated.

This is all the information I have to hand regarding Daintree Rainforest .
I apologise to the large number of people who contact me for further information.

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