Rainforest Research Informing Wet Tropics Management

Rainforest Research Informing Wet Tropics Management

Tropical Ecosystem Hub research in the Wet Tropics rainforests will greatly assist the management of the unique outstanding values of this World Heritage listed area in Far North Queensland. Getting research findings to key researcher users in a synthesized and clearly applicable form is critical to realizing the assistance. The Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) is on the front foot to ensure that this occurs.

The Tropical Ecosystems Hub provided funds for WTMA to assist with communication of research to the Queensland Government with the aim of maximising policy and management uptake.

NERP funded studies into the dynamics of habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change and altered fire regimes are highlighting some of the serious challenges facing the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area over the coming decades.

WTMA identified five projects from the Tropical Ecosystems Hub program to extend to senior staff from Queensland government agencies and Government Owned Corporations that have policy, planning and operational responsibilities for formulating and implementing decisions relating to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. These are:

  • 'Rainforest Biodiversity', which maps present and future biodiversity patterns and drivers in Wet Tropics rainforests under a range of climate change scenarios.
  • ‘Identifying Rainforest Refugia and Hotspots of Plant Genetic Diversity’, which investigates the distribution of plant and fungal taxonomic richness, endemism, and genetic diversity across the Wet Tropics bioregion.
  • ‘Monitoring of Key Vertebrate Species’, which monitors the abundance and distribution of cassowaries and spectacled flying foxes in north Queensland.
  • ‘Fire and Rainforests’, which increases understanding of the rainforest and fire dynamic, its impact on key species, and informs fire management in the Wet Tropics region.
  • ‘Harnessing Natural Regeneration for Cost-effective Rainforest Restoration’, which measures the rate and pattern of vegetation development in replanted sites and re-growth sites to determine most appropriate restoration method for any scenario.

WTMA is bringing together Queensland Government officials from Brisbane and Cairns to learn about the research outcomes from these NERP projects, identify the management implications, and discuss how the new knowledge can be translated into practice.

Activities currently proposed include a government workshop in Cairns in May and a public seminar at the Boggo Road Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane later in the year.

The ultimate aim of the project is to encourage high-level government support for managing current and emerging threats to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, as informed by NERP research. A key output will be a report that will be used by WTMA to brief Queensland Government Ministers later in the year.

Contact Project Coordinator, Kerryn O’Conor (kerryn.oconor@wtma.qld.gov.au) for more information.


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