The world’s oldest tropical forest has been restored to its Aboriginal owners in Australia


As the government prepares to relinquish management of the world’s oldest tropical forest, Australia’s Daintree rainforest has been restored to its indigenous owners.
In a ceremony in the rural town of Bloomfield on Wednesday, the Unesco World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park, a 135-million-year-old tropical rainforest, was given back to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people (Sept 29).
From a gigantic clawed cassowary bird to flora that has survived since the dinosaur era, the vast and humid rainforest is alive with old and unusual creatures.
Chrissy Grant, the traditional owner of Eastern Kuku Yalanji, described the move as a “historic event” that put the people “in charge of our own futures.”
As part of reconciliation initiatives, 160,000ha of land on the Cape York Peninsula, Australia’s northeast point, is being restored to the area’s indigenous Aboriginal owners.
In 1788, British immigrants came to Australia, colonizing the continent and marginalizing Aboriginal peoples. The national parks will be jointly maintained with the Queensland state government before being handed back to the indigenous people.
Ms. Grant stated that a foundation would be established to give training and job opportunities for local First Nations people in fields including land management, tourism, and research.
“The Eastern Kuku Yalanji people have one of the world’s oldest living civilizations, and this agreement recognises their right to own and govern their territory, to safeguard their culture, and to share it with tourists as they become tourism sector leaders,” she added.
To date, she said, the government has returned ownership of 3.8 million hectares on Cape York to Indigenous traditional owners.


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