The Wet Tropics Management Authority recently welcomed two new faces to its Planning and Conservation team.
Planning and conservation team manager, Tim Wong, arrives in the Wet Tropics from the cooler climes of Canberra, where he was chief executive officer of the Australian Capital Territory Natural Resource Management.
Tim joins the team with 20 years’ experience in diverse natural resource management roles in Australia and overseas, including stints in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam in fields such as World Heritage, biodiversity conservation, ecotourism and Indigenous NRM.
Tim’s work at the International Union for Conservation of Nature on Karst biodiversity and protected area management also led to World Heritage listing of the South China Karst landscape.
Over the next four months Tim will work alongside outgoing planning and conservation manager Max Chappell, who in September will leave the Authority after 25 years to enjoy his retirement.
Principal scientist, Dr Sandra Abell, joins the Authority after more than 15 years at James Cook University Cairns.
Most recently, she worked as a senior research fellow, a position she will retain as an adjunct at the Australian Tropical Herbarium to continue her work on the ecological interactions between fungi, plants and animals.
Sandra led research into so-called ‘zombie fungi’ (Cordyceps s.l.) that are pathogens of insects with potential applications in pest control technology. This Australian Biodiversity Resources Study (ABRS) funded project described and named new taxa from the Wet Tropics bioregion, including a new genus.
Sandra is also an expert on the northern bettong, an endangered marsupial fungivore. Recently she led research on the Northern Bettong Project, a collaboration between WWF, James Cook University and the Queensland Government with funding from the Australian Government.
Executive director Scott Buchanan said Tim and Sandra would be talented additions to the Authority.
“We’re excited to have secured both Tim and Sandra to continue the Authority’s work in conserving and presenting the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area,” he said.
“Tim’s vast experience—including his work on World Heritage listing of South China Karst—is particularly relevant and exciting for us.
"Sandra is an established scientific authority in the Wet Tropics, whose knowledge and experience will also be an incredible asset for our staff and partner organisations.”