Rainforest Ecology

World rankings Rainforests

In the heart of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, located at James Cook University’s Cairns Campus, the Australian Tropical Forest Institute (ATFI) excels in sustainable tropical landscapes research.

The institute facilitates collaboration, co-location and regional partnerships for the sustainable use, management and conservation of tropical forest landscapes. ATFI is a hub for research and development opportunities to benefit of communities in the region. It hosts research and government agencies as well as non-government organisations. An example is the JCU/CSIRO Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture (TLJV), a high profile research program.

ATFI is establishing itself as a world-leading centre of tropical landscapes research, knowledge brokering and management. Climate change is emerging as a major threat to biodiversity globally. Rising temperatures and a reduction in water supply will adversely affect rainforest biodiversity. With a 2 degree celcius warming, the Wet Tropics ecosystem will start to unravel. Published ATFI research predicts a dramatic loss of species from Queensland’s delicate wet tropical rainforest and an indication that the rainforests themselves are sensitive to climate change.

Research suggests that we must act now if we are able to understand the ecological patterns and processes and develop predictive tools to plan for the unique biota and rainforests. The Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility* (MTSRF) is sponsoring research by ATFI to explore adaptation strategies by to save Australia’s critical tropical biodiversity.

*The MTSRF is a consortium of over 38 end user organisations working with 300 scientists from 15 research providers as a part of the $100 million Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities Program.