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. 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.

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.

What Fan Palm protects

There are good signs that the nationally endangered Southern Cassowary is using the habitat protected by Fan Palm Reserve. It also protects these significant species and communities:

  • 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 descend on the area between March and September.

Ploughing up ground beneath fan palms and the taller rainforest trees, they leave a trail of destruction, compacting soil and leaving 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.

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. As Rainforest people with strong continuing spiritual connections to the land, Kuku Yalanji families have been living and caring for these unique biodiverse environments for at least 50,000 years and continue to do so today. Many natural features of the Daintree landscape and surrounding areas hold important cultural significance, while seasonally available plants and animals sustained families as they travelled throughout country. We pay our deepest respect to the Kuku Yalanji Traditional Owners, and their Elders, past, present and emerging.