Climate change impacting Wet Tropics World Heritage Area

30 April 2019

Long term monitoring has revealed that the rainforest biodiversity of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is declining, largely due to climate change.

CBA Director Craig Moritz has co-authored a report that brings together concerning new evidence showing an accelerating decline in the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area’s unique rainforest animals as a result of climate change.

Climate change was identified as the most significant threat to the Wet Tropics in the 2015-16 State of the Wet Tropics Report on ancient, endemic, rare and threatened vertebrates of the Wet Tropics. Based on long term monitoring, the Report identified that the biodiversity of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area was declining with many rainforest species already reduced in both distribution and population size, largely as a result of climate change.

The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is the world’s oldest rainforest and land of the world’s oldest living culture. It is ranked by the International Union on the Conservation of Nature as the second most irreplaceable World Heritage Area on earth, and the sixth most irreplaceable protected area, largely because of its endemic species. It provides economic benefits to the region of more than $5.2 billion per annum, significantly through visitation and tourism which enables people to experience and understand this important tropical wonder.

The Board of the Wet Tropics Management Authority has now become aware that, following the hottest summer ever recorded, some of the key species for which the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area was listed are at imminent risk of extinction. Read the full statement here.

The Guardian: Climate change damage to Queensland's world heritage rainforest 'as bad as Great Barrier Reef'

The Sydney Morning Herald: 'Imminent risk': Climate crisis facing Australian rainforests likened to coral bleaching