Research and the Wet Tropics Management Authority

Steve Turton researcher
Photographer: WTMA

The Wet Tropics Management Authority has always had a prominent role in promoting and coordinating research about the the World Heritage Area.

One of the Authority's legislative functions is to 'gather, research, analyse and disseminate information on the wet tropics area'. In practice, this has meant:

  • seeking and receiving advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee
  • working with research organisations to promote research as an important industry in the region, both for socioeconomic benefit and the public good
  • being an active partner and leader in numerous research collaborations (see the research organisations page)
  • identifying research priorities for the Area and how these can be achieved
  • directly funding and commissioning research through research collaborations
  • promoting and publishing research findings for the broader community
  • encouraging researchers to focus on the needs of World Heritage management
  • promoting research into a broad range of issues, from ecosystems and wildlife biology to the use and enjoyment of the Area by tourism and the local community


Learning landscapes

Eucalyptus grandis, wet sclerophyll,Kirrima Range Road
Photographer: Campbell ClarkeThe Authority is building on its long history of research leadership and collaboration over the past 25 years to promote Australia's Wet Tropics as an international learning landscape. The Wet Tropics has the potential to become a focus both for tropical ecosystem research and World Heritage management. The Learning Landscape concept will promote the Wet Tropics as:

  • an internationally significant biodiversity hotspot - a mega-diverse region
  • an ideal place for research on rainforest, the reef, Rainforest Aboriginal culture and tourism
  • a region full of collaborative research opportunities 
  • an area where research will form the basis of World Heritage management
  • a centre of high quality research.

You can read more on our Research and a Learning Landscape page.


A Learning Landscape eBulletin

Previously, the Authority published regular ebulletins on Wet Tropics research. These newsletters showcased Wet Tropics research and related management and policy issues.

You can read the previous editions on our Learning Landscape eBullletin page.


Scientific Advisory Committee

Setting up data loggers in boulders, Thornton Peak
Photographer: Earthwatch Expeditions

The Wet Tropics Scientific Advisory Committee was set up to advise the Authority's Board on scientific matters relevant to managing World Heritage Area. Members of the scientific community nominate for the committee and are appointed by the Board every three years. The committee meets several times a year to identify and evaluate research needs in all areas of science including the social, biological and physical sciences. The committee evaluates the effectiveness of management strategies supported by the Authority and may also advise on development proposals and perceived threats to the World Heritage Area. See the Scientific Advisory Committee page for more details.


Research priorities

Counting cassowary populations, replanting rainforests cheaply and effectively, stopping the spread of weeds and feral animals, the impacts of fire and promoting use and enjoyment of the Area - these are just some of our many research needs. You can read all the details on our research priorities page.


Research reports

The research reports section contains those reports directly commissioned and funded by the Authority. Mapping the vegetation of the Wet Tropics was a major research project undertaken by the Authority in collaboration with Peter and David Stanton. You can read more about it on the vegetation maps page.


Student Research Grant Scheme

In 2012 the Authority provided funding to assist post graduate students to research a wide range of issues related to management of the World Heritage Area. You can read about the grants scheme and the research students on the student research grants page.

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