Advanced mapping to underpin management of littoral rainforest

20 January 2016

Hub researchers are producing cutting-edge mapping of critically endangered littoral rainforest in the Wet Tropics to support management decisions for the conservation of this unique habitat in the face of climate change.

LRF on Russell Island National Park. Photo: Andrew Ford

LRF on Russell Island National Park. Photo: Andrew Ford

The project, led by the CSIRO’s Dr Helen Murphy, will deliver fine-resolution mapping of the location of the Littoral Rainforest and Coastal Vine Thickets of Eastern Australia, between Townsville and Cooktown (Wet Tropics bioregion).

Dr Murphy says the research will extend on CSIRO mapping methodology that was piloted in the Mission Beach area.

“Our project aims to prioritise management options for a critically endangered ecological community in a bioregion which is home to dozens of threatened plants and animals,” Dr Murphy said.

“The community is facing increasing exposure to storm-surge, sea level rise and extreme weather events. Fine-scale terrain and hydrology models will help identify those areas most at risk from these threats.”

This high-quality mapping can be used as a baseline on which to measure future change and to inform future management decisions.

“The research will address key gaps in our understanding of where, when, and what management action is required to help the ecological community adapt to climate change and to ensure its survival for future generations.”

The science will be delivered by CSIRO and James Cook University staff. An expert advisory panel provides technical support to the project and includes representatives from the Department of the Environment, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Terrain NRM, the Australian Tropical Herbarium, Queensland National Parks staff and the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils.

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