Rainforest Expansion in Far North Queensland: A preliminary analysis of the Windsor and Carbine Tablelands (MTSRF Transition Project T28)


As part of its commitment under Theme 5 of the MTSRF, the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre publishes, or makes available, outputs (e.g. final technical or scientific reports, synthesis reports) from MTSRF-funded research projects nested within Research Themes 1-4.

The following summary is an extract from:

Tng, Y.P.D., Sanders, G., Murphy, B.P., Williamson G.J., Kemp. J and Bowman, D.M.J.S. (2010) Rainforest Expansion in Far North Queensland. A Preliminary Analysis of the Windsor and Carbine Tablelands. Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) Transition Project Final Report. Published by the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns (23pp.)

Report Summary:

In the Wet Tropics of Queensland, tropical rainforest covered an estimated 965,000 ha prior to European settlement of the area during the 19th and 20th centuries. Subsequent human impacts resulted in a reduction in the area of rainforest to approximately 750,000 ha.

A distinctive feature of rainforest in the wetter parts of northeastern Queensland is the often abrupt boundary between the rainforest and adjacent eucalypt dominated vegetation or grassland. The vegetation dynamics of the rainforest boundary has been the subject of immense scientific interest. While rainforest boundaries may appear abrupt and stable, pollen records suggest that these boundaries have been expanding and contracting throughout geological history. Possible reasons for rainforest expansion include climatic amelioration and/or release from fire suppression.

Here, Tng and others explore the rates of landscape change and landscape conditions associated with rainforest expansion in the Wet Tropics World Heritage region of northeastern Queensland. They assess change in rainforest in a 270 square kilometre study area within the Wet Tropics Bioregion, and ask to what extent rates of rainforest change were similar for particular time periods and mediated by climatic and landscape conditions.

MTSRF Transition Funding - Background:

The four-year term of the MTSRF officially concluded at the end of June 2010. The Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Transition Program for the MTSRF aimed to deliver new and additional synthesis products based on the contemporary information needs of the primary end users through the synthesis and anlalysis of pre-existing MTSRF outputs. In addition, the MTSRF Transition Program extended research that is highly relevant to the future CERF key investment areas of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, northern Australia and terrestrial biodiversity. A total of $1.8 million has been contracted for the delivery of 42 MTSRF transition projects, each summarised on the RRRC website. Key outputs of transition projects are also indicated, and are being made available via the RRRC website as they are released throughout 2011.

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