Mapping to underpin management of tropical littoral rainforest

This project has produced fine-resolution mapping of the location of the critically endangered Littoral Rainforest & Coastal Vine Thickets of Eastern Australia community between Townsville and Cooktown (Wet Tropics bioregion) and examined the current and projected future threats to its persistence and condition from the impacts of sea-level rise, storm surge and extreme weather events.

The project has extended the CSIRO mapping methodology that was piloted in the Mission Beach area to identify potential littoral rainforest consistent with the listing advice for the Wet tropics bioregion. Fine-scale terrain and hydrology models has identified those areas that are most exposed to the effects of storm-surge, inundation and sea-level rise and characterised areas at greatest risk from extreme events. Adaptation pathways for littoral rainforest in the face of climate change are considered in management options.

  • Fine resolution mapping of Littoral rainforest across the bioregion;
  • A methodology for identifying and mapping Littoral rainforest that is broadly applicable to other significant areas of the community recognised under the EPBC Act listing advice, viz. Cape York (Cooktown to Princess Charlotte Bay); Queensland’s southern tropics (Townsville to Mackay), South-east Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria;
  • Mapping of current and projected storm surge and inundation associated with extreme events, and projected sea-level rise across the study area;
  • Identification of management options and adaptation pathways for continued provision of ecosystem services from Littoral rainforest in the face of existing and projected impacts.

Wet tropics, Queensland from Townsville to Cooktown.

August 2021

The Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub addressed key research questions to come up with practical, on-ground solutions to some of the north’s most complex environmental challenges. A transdisciplinary research approach has been at the heart of the hub. Integrating key research users – policy-makers and land managers including Traditional Owners and ranger groups – into the co-design of research projects has led to rapid uptake of research outcomes into land management practices and decision-making. The hub has produced this wrap-up video outlining these impacts from the perspectives of research users.

Helen Murphy (Project Leader, CSIRO), Jeremy VanDerWal (JCU), Andrew Ford (CSIRO), Erin Graham (JCU)

  • LRF on Russell Island National Park. Photo: Andrew Ford
  • LRF on High Island National Park. Photo: Andrew Ford
  • Wongaling Creek showing coastal retreat by c. 40m post Cyclone Yasi. Photo: Dan Metcalfe
  • Cardwell northern boat ramp LRF post Cyclone Yasi. Photo: Dan Metcalfe