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 shows that some indigenous peoples fear new roads

TESS team shows that some indigenous peoples fear new roads

The social impacts of roads, particularly on indigenous people, have not been adequately quantified. In reality, indigenous people are rarely consulted in the planning phase of road projects despite the fact that they have rights to self-determination and consultation involving the development of indigenous lands and resources, including road construction...

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TESS researchers identify promising avenues to suppress Panama disease

TESS researchers identify promising avenues to suppress Panama disease

Production of many crops, including bananas, is threatened worldwide by the spread of pathogenic strains of Fusarium oxysporum, the causal agent of Fusarium wilt. Though not all soil attributes can be managed, pH, organic matter content and availability of nutrients show promise for manipulation to reduce disease severity and mitigate risk.

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TESS’s Lain Pardo shows how limits to oil palm expansion are critical for Colombian mammals

TESS’s Lain Pardo shows how limits to oil palm expansion are critical for Colombian mammals

If Orinoco oil palm cultivation surpasses 75 percent of the total area, mammal populations will suffer drastic and accelerated declines, a new study warns. A “sustainable” level of cultivation would need to reserve 55 percent of the land for natural ecosystems. Palm cultivation in the country’s eastern grassland plains has already exceeded these limits.

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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.