What type of rainforest is the Daintree?

When talking about rainforests, there are two types, temperate and tropical.

These forests are incredibly green and densely vegetated. They are rich in plant and animal species, with great diversity amongst both rainforest types. They share a few similar features, such as the shape of their trees, however overall they are quite different.

Temperate rainforests are typically quite cool and are much older than tropical rainforests. Tropical rainforests on the other hand are hot and humid and experience much higher levels of rainfall. It is important to note however, that not all tropical forests are rainforests.

What makes a tropical rainforest?

Tropical rainforests are dense, wet, and must be situated between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Sorry Tasmania, no tropical rainforests for you!

Additionally, these rainforests must never have frost, and must receive between 80 and 400 inches of rainfall. For our metric friends, that’s 10,160 millimetres a year.

Rainforests have huge, thick trunked trees and creepers that intertwine surrounding branches. Due to their hot humid climates they also have a high decomposition rate. Fallen trees and branches provide a secondary ecosystem to plant and animal life on the ground. From the ground up, there are several layers to rainforests ecosystems. Each layer helps a new set of plant and animal life thrive. Some animals live so high up they never touch the ground, while many ground dwelling plants may never receive direct sunlight!

Daintree; a Tropical Rainforest

The Daintree is situated in the Wet Tropics of Queensland and is indeed a Tropical Rainforest. In fact, it is part of the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest in Australia. The rainforest grows right down to the edge of the ocean. It is so densely populated it contains 30% of the frog, reptile and marsupial species in Australia. Additionally, it homes 90% of Australia’s bat and butterfly species. Needless to say, it’s an animal loves paradise!

The Daintree was initially part of the ancient super continent Gondwana. Prior to the continent splitting to more closely represent those we know today; it was heavily populated by unique flora and fauna. In fact, there are many species that are found across Australia, South America and Africa from this time.

The Daintree’s plant life is so significant to Australia, and indeed the world, that it holds a UNESCO listing. The rainforest meets all four criteria for listing as a natural heritage site. This includes containing natural phenomena, representing major stage of earth’s history, ongoing examples of ecological evolution, and significant natural habitats for the in-situ conservation of biological diversity. The Daintree Rainforest is truly a phenomenal example of nature’s beauty.

Visit the Daintree

The best way to appreciate this fantastic part of the world is to visit! There are plenty of activities and tours that take place within the rainforest and give you the chance to see it all for yourself. The warm bright sun trickles through the canopy, and cool creeks trickle through for you to cool down in.

Related article: How was the Daintree Rainforest created?

Language »