RAP and 20 years’ rainforest research

The NERP (National Environment Research Program) is a national funding program for research across Australia. People from the 20 Rainforest Aboriginal groups are familiar with scientific research in Wet Tropics country from 5 years of the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) (2006 – 2010). Rainforest Aboriginal people were involved with MTSRF mainly through the Aboriginal Rainforest Council (ARC) and Girringun Aboriginal Corporation. Before MTSRF there was 13 years of the Cooperative Research Centres’ (CRC) program (1993 – 2006). Rainforest Aboriginal people were supported through the Rainforest CRC to develop the Aboriginal Plan (2005) and input to the Wet Tropics NRM Plan.

30 July 2013

SCIENTISTS have developed a new super sunscreen that mimics the way Great Barrier Reef corals protect themselves from UV light.

CSIRO scientists have spent the past two years harnessing the way the reefs' corals have survived Queensland's harsh sun for million of years in shallow waters. Read more




ABC News

17 September 2013

The Queensland Government will wait before beginning an expensive proposal to fix a turtle rookery at Raine Island off Cape York until it assesses the impacts of a new trial.

Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell says they were considering shipping sand to the remote island, which has suffered a dramatic decline in hatchling success rates due to a gradual loss of viable nesting areas. Read more



ABC News

20 November 2013

The Queensland Government has announced the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve and the Wenlock River in Cape York will be protected from open-cut and strip mining.

The area is the first to be named a "strategic environmental area" under the Regional Planning Interests Bill to go before Parliament today. Read more




ABC News

04 June 2013

The first scientific project designed to capture the underwater sounds of the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland has begun.

Queensland researchers are hoping to determine whether human activities such as shipping impacts on communication between marine animals. Read more




Dredging Today

17 January 2014

Queensland’s peak resources sector body said it remains confident that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will continue to base its decision-making on the best available science.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said today that as a result of an expensive but transparently deceptive campaign by environmental activists to demonise port developments, there was growing confusion over real and present dangers to the park’s long-term health. Read more




NERC Science of the Environment

15 November 2013

When tropical forests are cleared, they can take a century or more to re-absorb the carbon they once held, according to a new study. But their biodiversity is even slower to recover, and some species may never return.

Forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, but when they are cleared this returns to the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. More than half the world's tropical rainforest has now been cleared for agriculture, logged or burned, so it's important to know how long it takes for so-called 'secondary forests' to absorb a similar amount of carbon again once they are allowed to grow back. Read more




The University of Queensland

05 May 2014

The discovery of musky rat-kangaroo fossils has prompted experts to call for better protection of tropical rainforests after new links show the tiny marsupial cannot survive outside that environment.

The findings come from a study by The University of Queensland and The University of New South Wales. Read more




News Mail

05 September 2013

QUEENSLAND research capabilities are under the international spotlight, with scientists DNA barcoding all 870 species of plants found in south-east Queensland rainforests.

Science and Innovation Minister Ian Walker said the ground breaking work will build a global reference database, while assisting to protect rare species and map our state's biodiversity. Read more



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 ( for more information.