MEDIA RELEASE: Globally-distinguished biologist: protecting the Myola Valley is “vital”

DATE: 7 March 2018


Globally-distinguished biologist: protecting the Myola Valley is “vital”

The Kuranda community is mobilising to find a suitable conservation buyer for the controversial ‘Barnwell Estate’, in the event the Macao-based developer loses interest and wishes to on-sell the rural-zoned land at a fair price.

Several letters of support have been received from relevant stakeholders, backing the principle of acquiring land for conservation in the biodiverse Myola Valley.

The support letter from JCU’s Distinguished Research Professor Bill Laurance is of key interest.

Professor Laurance, who works as a conservation biologist in native and damaged forests all over the tropical world, puts the region in global context:

“I can say with complete confidence that the Wet Tropics region is among the most ancient, most biologically unique, and most small and imperilled ecosystems on the planet. It literally leaps off the global map as a hotspot of vital conservation importance.”

Professor Laurance continues:

“It is fundamentally important, 30 years on from World Heritage listing of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, to ensure that what remains is protected and that further incursions into the bioregion are tightly restrained.

In this region, most (70%) of the lowland forests have already been destroyed. Much of the upland forests on the Atherton Tablelands and Windsor Tableland have also been cleared and fragmented.

Government support for improving protection outcomes for remaining critical habitat on freehold land is the first vital step to protecting the bioregion for the future.”

Lending his support for conserving the Barnwell property, Professor Laurance added:

“Without doubt, the best possible outcome for this land parcel is to support the Kuranda community’s desire to restore the land to its natural state, and for it to be held in trust for nature conservation in perpetuity.”

The full text of Professor Laurance’s letter is linked here:

William F. Laurance, PhD, FAA, FAAAS, FRSQ
Distinguished Research Professor & Australian Laureate
Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation
Director, Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science


A total of 12 endorsement letters were received: