Australian Rainforest Conservation Society



Australian Rainforest Conservation Society

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We are a small team, with big hearts, passionate about nature, with an enduring will to protect it.

The Australian Rainforest Conservation Society (ARCS) is a national, non-government, not-for-profit organization, founded in 1982, with headquarters in Brisbane, incorporated in Queensland under the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 and registered as a tax-deductible gift recipient on the Federal Register of Environmental Organisations.

We believe fundamentally, that if something is so important, so vital, so in need of help, we have to do our utmost to make that difference. We are living proof that even a small group of people can start a revolution and achieve great things (See ‘Our History’).

We believe if we are clear about our goals, the vision and values that compel us, if we tell you what we have been able to achieve in the past, tell you more about our people and the people who inspire us, and what we need to do now, you may find you share the same passions, values and the drive to join and help us, in whatever way you can.

We have a systems view of life and of how the world works. It governs how we think and make decisions. We can respond quickly, when it matters.

Our mission, simply, is to serve Nature.

The lines of Lord George Byron (in Childe Harold, Canto iv, Verse 178) say it beautifully:

I love not man the less, but Nature more

Specifically, our mission is to protect, repair and restore the extraordinary rainforests of Australia.

We do this through research, advocacy, public education, grass-roots support and on-ground ecological restoration.

The research

We see a fundamental connection between our desire to protect and the need to provide a convincing case supported by good, peer-reviewed science. We stay well versed in the latest scientific literature, seek out experts from around the world, many of whom become friends for life, carry out our own research and investigations, and publish reports independently reviewed by experts. If we want people to share our goals and work together to achieve them we want people to trust what we say and do.


We believe we must advocate for change where it can be most effective. This means good laws and policies, and the long-term strategies and plans to implement them.
Public education

We feel the quote from Senegalese ecologist Baba Dioum’s speech to the IUCN General Assembly in New Delhi in 1968 encapsulates the vital role of education:

Our websites, blogs, social media outlets, books, articles, newsletters, media engagement are our means to reach the hearts and minds of the community, for ultimately the community is the only force for lasting change.

Grass root support

We cannot achieve lasting change working alone. Over more than 30 years we have networked with many organisations, in many different campaigns, on many different journeys together, some lasting a decade or more to succeed. With unity comes strength and resilience, and with diversity, the inspiration to see and try new things.

Ecological restoration

We have lost so much. Habitats that were critical for plants and animals to survive in now barely keep them alive if at all. Vast landscapes lie so fragmented animals cannot disperse as they must. How often we hear the words “I used to...” or “I remember when...” when remembering the once familiar forests or forest giants, or animals long since gone.

The challenge for generations to come, all around the world, will be to reassemble Nature, help it heal and reconnect. Not to try is to lock in all the cascades of extinction already looming and leave those who follow a barely recognizable world.

This is our vision — vast, secure, and connected natural landscapes where the plants, animals, fungi and all other life forms continue to survive, thrive and evolve as life on Earth has done for billions of years past.

At its heart, our vision and values are about conserving nature, and leading and helping others to do the same. After all, we are all part of nature. Its fate is ours.

We believe human beings must respect all other species that share this one Earth as home. Each life form is of intrinsic value, not just for the benefit we can derive for ourselves. We need to live our lives with as small an ecological footprint as possible so all life on Earth can fare well. In so doing we inevitably enrich our own lives, our health and wellbeing.

Our work is driven by this vision and these values.

Managed/contributed to the following campaigns

Type of group

Registered Charity
Incorporated Association

Primary environmental focus

Conservation & Protection

Geographic sphere or activity


Primary location


Known address

PO Box 2111, Milton QLD 4064, Australia

Website link/s

Founding Year


History of group

ARCS was established in 1982 as the Rainforest Conservation Society of Queensland. Following is a brief chronicle of the Society’s activities.

The Wet Tropics: In 1984, ARCS was commissioned by the Australian Heritage Commission to prepare a report on the conservation values of the rainforests of North-East Queensland. After favourable reviews by a host of eminent international and national scientists, the report was published by the Commission and became the foundation for a campaign to protect the area. ARCS spearheaded the national campaign which lead to World Heritage Listing of 900,000 hectares of rainforest and other forests as the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area in 1988. ARCS prepared the World Heritage nomination. The campaign also lead to an end to all logging in the area.
Rainforest logging stopped: ARCS subsequently campaigned successfully against rainforest logging in other parts of Queensland (where the great majority of Australia’s rainforests occur). In 1994, the Queensland Government ceased all rainforest logging on public land in the State.
Fraser Island & Gondwana Rainforests: ARCS prepared the World Heritage nomination for Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world as well as the nomination for Central Rainforest Reserves of Australia World Heritage area (now Gondwana Rainforests of Australia).
South East Queensland Forests Agreement: In the late 90s, ARCS lead the negotiations that resulted in the historic and widely acclaimed South-East Queensland Forests Agreement (SEQFA) between the Queensland Government, the timber industry and conservation groups. The SEQFA lead to protection of 425,000 hectares of forest and a commitment to phase out all native forest logging on public land by 2024 and transition to a plantation-based industry.
Statewide Forests Process: ARCS went on to extend the successful cooperative stakeholder approach to resolving logging and other issues associated with the remaining native forests in the state — the Statewide Forests Process.
The Delbessie Agreement: In another co-operative, solution-based initiative, ARCS worked with the Queensland Government and the rural industry association, AgForce Queensland, to develop a Leasehold Land Strategy for the State. This culminated, in 2007, in the Delbessie Agreement that establishes new standards for management of leasehold land which covers more than 1 million square kilometres of Queensland. It also has the potential to produce major conservation gains.
Springbrook Rescue: ARCS worked with the previous Queensland Government to assess conservation values of properties for sale at Springbrook. There was the potential to expand the World Heritage-listed national park and improve its boundary configuration, providing greater long-term security for its outstanding values. The result was a $40-million acquisition program that will significantly improve the chances of long-term survival of the World Heritage values of the area. The majority of these lands are now in National Park or National Park (Recovery). ARCS has undertaken responsibility for restoration of areas of cleared land on the purchased properties — the Springbrook Rescue Project.
Queensland Biodiversity Strategy: ARCS recently worked with the Queensland Government and other conservation groups to develop a Queensland Biodiversity Strategy associated with the International Year of Biodiversity. ARCS prepared comprehensive “Principles and Guidelines towards development of a Queensland Biodiversity Strategy: A Working Document” which is available on the ‘Publications’ page. The Strategy was launched in 2011.

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