A new report highlights the importance of landscape restoration to not only build resilience of the Wet Tropics but to also create opportunities in new emerging markets across the Wet Tropics region that benefit the environment.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority’s State of Wet Tropics 2021–22 report, titled The restoration economy: enhancing climate adaptation through natural capital markets, was recently tabled in the Queensland and Australian Parliaments.
The report adds to the growing recognition that the basis of the economy in the Wet Tropics region is the environment and identifies opportunities for natural capital markets to enhance climate adaptation across a number of key sectors.
The Wet Tropics is identified as a region that offers a ‘premium product’ for investors, where the rich bio-cultural landscape offers significant opportunity to support carbon capture, improve World Heritage listed biodiversity, and support the ongoing traditions of one of the oldest living cultures on Earth.
The Wet Tropics is a vital part of the catchment area of the Great Barrier Reef, and these two adjacent World Heritage sites generate a direct economic contribution to the region of more than $11 billion per annum.
The Authority’s Executive Director Scott Buchanan said: “The Wet Tropics is unique and irreplaceable, but it is facing escalating threats including fragmentation and degradation of habitat, the impacts of invasive species, and—most critically—a rapidly changing climate.”
Mr Buchanan said the Wet Tropics is in a unique position to leverage environmental work that has the potential to generate economic returns such as investment into carbon farming and developing biodiversity markets that deliver not only environmental, but also cultural and socio-economic benefits.
“The combination of good growing conditions, engaged Traditional Custodians, a motivated community, and exemplar biodiversity values along with the collaborative actions and commitments described above, makes an attractive investment opportunity to ensure a secure future for the Wet Tropics,” Mr Buchanan said.
Chair of the Authority’s Board Chrissy Grant said: “Our economies, livelihoods, cultural identity and wellbeing are all inherently linked to nature.”
“The United Nations has declared 2021–2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and the Australian Government’s 2021 State of Environment report clearly states we are at risk of overexploiting our environment, which may lead to irreparable loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services,” Ms Grant said.
“To meet this challenge, the Wet Tropics Management Authority is working with key partners to establish the Wet Tropics Restoration Alliance—a coordinated and supported network of community, landholders, Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples, industry, government, researchers and investors who have common goals and aspirations for landscape restoration of the Wet Tropics,” Ms Grant said.
Aaron Smith | Senior Media and Communications Officer
Wet Tropics Management Authority
Mobile: 0439 362 790 | Aaron.Smith@wtma.qld.gov.au