Australia: World’s oldest rainforest given back to indigenous group

 16 hrs agoLike|84Taliban says US drones must stop entering AfghanistanTaliban fighters hit the fairground as Afghans fear for freedomsDaintree national park is in northern Queensland© Provided by dw.com Daintree national park is in northern Queensland

The Australian state of Queensland announced on Wednesday that it has passed ownership of the Daintree rainforest back to its Indigenous caretakers, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people.

The forest is thought to be the world’s oldest jungle and has been growing for some 10 million years.

“The Eastern Kuku Yalanji people’s culture is one of the world’s oldest living cultures and agreement recognizes their right to own and manage their country, to protect their culture, and to share it with visitors as they become leaders in the tourism industry,” read a statement from Queensland Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon. There will be a joint period of management before the full handover, she said.

Chrissy Grant, a representative for the Eastern Kuku Yalanji, said the deal involved four years of negotiations.

The first of four handovers

The area in the northeastern region of the country comprises some 160,000 hectares (395,000 acres) of land, which have been threatened by climate change and by logging, despite being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since the 1980s.

Although the move is the first of its kind for Queensland, Daintree is just the first of four national parks set to be handed back to indigenous hands in an agreement with the state government signed on Wednesday.

In other parts of Australia, such agreements have already been made. The world-famous Uluru national park in the country’s Northern Territory, for example, has been back under the ownership of the Pitjantjatjara people since 1985.

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