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Canopy at Fan Palm reserve Photo: Craig Allen
Canopy at Fan Palm reserve Photo: Craig Allen

Fan Palm




8.2 ha


50km North of Port Douglas

Traditional Custodians:

Kuku Yalanji people

For such a small parcel of land, Fan Palm Reserve punches well above its weight.

Rescued from developers in 1993, Fan Palm was the first reserve purchased by Bush Heritage through fundraising efforts and the first on mainland Australia. The reserve’s most striking visual feature is the fan palms, from which it draws its name.

Growing up to 15 metres high, the palms form a dense canopy in the mesophyll vine forest that covers Fan Palm Reserve.

Dense rainforest at Fan Palm Reserve. Photo Craig Allen.

Elsewhere, much of this forest type has been cleared for farming and it’s now uncommon.

Fan Palm is also important as Bush Heritage’s only reserve within Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area – a national biodiversity hotspot that’s home to more than half of Australia’s bird species and 60% of both our butterfly and bat species.

One of these bird species, the nationally endangered Southern Cassowary, plays a critical role in keeping tropical ecosystems alive through seed dispersal and germination.

All this is protected thanks to our generous supporters.

Southern Cassowary. Photo Steve Parish.

What Fan Palm Reserve protects

Animals: Herbert River Ringtail Possum, Green Ringtail Possum, Lemuroid Ringtail Possum, Striped Possum, Bennett's Tree Kangaroo.

Plants: Cleistanthus oblongifolius, Neostrearia fleckeri, Ryparosa javanica.

Vegetation communities: Mesophyll vine forest with dominant fan palms (Licuala ramsayi).

What we’re doing

Thankfully, the vegetation of Fan Palm Reserve is robust and requires no direct intervention to maintain its integrity.

One threat to the ground storey comes from feral pigs, which can plough up ground beneath fan palms and the taller rainforest trees, leaving a trail of destruction, compacted soil and barren patches of earth.

As well as trapping and removing pigs, we’re working to control the potential for Lantana infestation around the fringes of the reserve.

Wet tropics around Fan Palm Reserve. Photo Peter Heise-Pavlov.

Cultural values

The Eastern Kuku Yalanji people are the Traditional Owners of Fan Palm reserve and the Daintree Coast. Their ancestral tenure extends from the Mossman Valley to the Upper Annan River in the north, and west to the Great Dividing Range.

Kuku Yalanji families have been living on and caring for this land for at least 50,000 years and continue to do so today.

Many natural features of the Daintree landscape and surrounding areas are of important cultural significance, while seasonally available plants and animals sustained families as they travelled throughout country.

Exotic fruits of the forest. Photo Siggy Heise-Pavlov.

Stories from Fan Palm

BLOG 03/01/2018

The residents of Fan Palm Reserve

Trail cameras were recently put out for the first time at Fan Palm Reserve in the Daintree area of far north Queensland. These cameras are a popular and effective monitoring tool because they are non-intrusive and fairly low effort way to survey fauna species.

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BLOG 23/10/2017

The hidden charm of Fan Palm

Do you know what you're looking at here? It's the splatter-bomb poo of a Southern Cassowary and it's everywhere on the forest floor at Fan Palm Reserve in the Daintree area of far north Queensland.

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BUSHTRACKS 21/12/2015

Has another iconic species been uncovered?

We are hosting a new research project into how far south in Queensland’s Daintree River lowland forests the near threatened Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo may exist. After a sighting of a juvenile close to Palm Road in the Daintree, tree roo expert and author Roger Martin visited our Fan Palm Reserve in northern Queensland to investigate the southern range of this iconic Australian marsupial.

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