The Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS) is based at James Cook University (JCU), Australia's leading tropical research university.

Our mission is to promote cutting-edge ecological and environmental research in the tropics, and the wise management, conservation and sustainable use of tropical terrestrial and coastal ecosystems, in Australia and internationally.

Latest news


Tess team says road-building explosion in Indonesian Borneo is 'scary'

Tess team says road-building explosion in Indonesian Borneo is 'scary'

We found that planned and ongoing road and rail-line developments will have many detrimental ecological impacts, including fragmenting large expanses of intact forest.

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TESS’s Kearrin Sims underscores risks of Chinese infrastructure for wild elephants

TESS’s Kearrin Sims underscores risks of Chinese infrastructure for wild elephants

Can the Land of a Million Elephants Survive the Belt and Road? Chinese-funded projects in Laos could hasten the eradication of the elephant population

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TESS’s Bill Laurance argues that Madagascar’s voters can save their environment by backing the right president

TESS’s Bill Laurance argues that Madagascar’s voters can save their environment by backing the right president

What links Brazil and Madagascar? Both are renowned for their biodiversity and face the prospect of an autocratic leader bent on destroying their nation's environment for short-term gain.

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Outstanding Research

TESS research addresses the pressing, complex, trans-disciplinary and interconnected issues of S3D – Sustainability Science and Sustainable Development – across the tropical world


JCU is the only Australian university to receive the highest ranking of 5 (well above World Standard) in Environmental Science and Management in the Australian Government’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment for every round.

JCU's unique location enables researchers and students from Australia and overseas to work in a diverse physical environment unparalleled by any university in the world. Nowhere else is it possible to visit reef, rainforest and savanna in a single day, returning to world-class laboratory facilities in a vibrant and attractive tropical city.