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’s Bill Laurance argues that global infrastructure tsunami is faltering

TESS’s Bill Laurance argues that global infrastructure tsunami is faltering

We are living in the most explosive era of infrastructure expansion in human history. To meet the United Nations’ development goals, we would need to invest tens of trillions of dollars in new roads, railways, energy ventures, ports, and other projects by 2030.

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TESS team emphasises need to integrate local and global strategies on forests

TESS team emphasises need to integrate local and global strategies on forests

Global forest discourses must connect with local forest realities.

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TESS researchers say we need to stop lots of ill-planned infrastructure, not just ‘green’ it

TESS researchers say we need to stop lots of ill-planned infrastructure, not just ‘green’ it

'Screen, not just green’ infrastructure projects to help economies and the environment

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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.