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TESS Our Research

Our Research

We conduct projects around the world to tackle environmental issues of acute concern which cut across the TESS thematic areas. We approach these key issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective to better integrate the wide-ranging talents of our researchers.

Flagship Projects

Reducing the global impacts of rapid infrastructure expansion

Strategies to minimise damage and maximise benefits in rapidly changing tropical environments.

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Sustainable tropical agriculture

Helping farmers, their advisors and regulators to provide sufficient healthy food, livelihoods, clean water and clean atmosphere.

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Invasive species and biosecurity in tropical Australia

Tropical Queensland is a hotspot of opportunity for the introduction of invasive species, with millions of dollars spent on control efforts to date.

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Capacity Building and Engagement for Sustainable Development

Sustainable advances in human dignity, human-environmental interactions and sustainable development agendas in Northern Australia and Tropical World

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Research Themes

Tropical forests are being felled, burned, logged, and over-hunted at alarming rates, and increasingly suffer from harmful climatic change – jeopardising much of the world’s biodiversity and emitting dangerous greenhouse gases. Under this Theme, we are addressing many of the direct anthropogenic threats to tropical ecosystems and biota and actively searching for strategies to help reduce those threats.

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Understanding, mitigating and adapting to environmental change is a core theme in sustainability science. Change occurs both naturally and from human activities. Differentiating and understanding the relationships between the two is important for forecasting future impacts to the natural and human environments.

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By virtue of their equatorial location, tropical ecosystems experience high rates of isolation, and are often accompanied by high seasonal levels of precipitation. In terms of global carbon, water and energy budgets, this makes the tropical land masses the 'engine room' of the planet, with any significant changes in surface energy balances of consequence both regionally and for the earth system as a whole.

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Tropical developing countries face a perfect storm of resource exploitation pressures, opportunities and conflicts. Food production will have to double throughout most of the tropics. If economies are to grow, extractive industries will have to be part of the equation. JCU researchers are studying the trade-offs that occur between environmental values and human livelihoods in areas subject to these changes.

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This theme showcases various undergraduate and graduate programs in tropical environmental and sustainability sciences at James Cook University. In addition, we plan to expand our activities to include outreach to the wider community, together with organising short training courses for targeted stakeholder groups within and outside Australia.

Read more on Theme 5