Monitoring and reporting

The Wet Tropics has some of the best researched and monitored tropical forests in the world - and there are still so many things we need to learn.

Just a few of the monitoring projects to measure the health of the region's environment are mentioned below.

The Wet Tropics Management Authority is required to submit a State of the Wet Tropics Report to the Australian and Queensland Governments each year and a Periodic Report to the Australian Government and UNESCO every six years or so.

 

Some monitoring projects in the Wet Tropics

Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change

The Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change (James Cook University) has undertaken long term monitoring biodiversity and ecosystems throughout the Wet Tropics rainforests. Professor Steve Williams and his team have collected a large amount of data on the distribution of endemic rainforest vertebrates and the potential impacts of climate change on their habitat. The Centre's current research is also looking at the some invertebrate species distribution, the impact of climate change on fire regimes and vegetation boundaries, and species dispersal.

 

Daintree Rainforest Observatory

The Daintree Rainforest Observatory (which includes the canopy crane) has been undertaking long term monitoring of the rainforest canopy and its structure, flowering trees, beetles, mammals and fruit. There are also several studies monitoring changes in response to climate variations.

 

CSIRO long term plots

Between 1971 and 1980, CSIRO established 20 plots in the Wet Tropics rainforests to look at  long term ecological changes and growth. Plots were measured every two years for the first ten years and every three or four years afterwards. Some of these plots were affected by cyclones. You can read a summary of the results in CSIRO Rainforest Permanent Plots of North Queensland on the Rainforest CRC website.

 

Joseph Connell and Peter Green

Joseph Connell and Peter Green have one of the longest monitoring studies in the Wet Tropics. They published 'Seedling dynamics over thirty-two years in a tropical rainforest tree' in 2000. They examined patterns of seedling recruitment of Chrysophyllum sp. nov.- a shade tolerant canopy tree and followed the progress of new and old seedlings over time. Some tiny seedlings remained alive and only doubled in height over 27 years.

 

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has a range of monitoring programs, particularly for threatened species. Monitoring programs include tropical bettongs, upland frogs, spotted-tailed quolls, pied imperial pigeons, yellow bellied gliders and cassowaries (including post cyclone feeding programs). The QPWS also does fire monitoring and assists with monitoring of feral animals and weeds.

 

Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry monitors a range of weed and feral animals, focusing on the long term detection and eradication of newly invasive species. For instance, electric ants and yellow crazy ants are subject to eradication campaigns with extensive public education. Weeds such as Siam weed, miconia species, kosters curse, mikania vine and limnocharis have also been intensely monitored as part of eradication campaigns over many years.

 

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