Tropical rainforests of eastern Australia

Metcalfe, Daniel, Liddell, Michael, Bradford, Matt, and Green, Peter (2014) Tropical rainforests of eastern Australia. In: Lindenmayer, David, Burns, Emma, Thurgate, Nicole, and Lowe, Andrew, (eds.) Biodiversity and Environmental Change: monitoring, challenges and direction. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, VIC, Australia, pp. 111-165.

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Abstract

The tropical rainforests of eastern Australia comprise ~0.2% of the Australian landmass, yet support a huge range of biodiversity, as well as evidence of the biological and geological evolution of the continent. There has been extensive clearance of rainforest over the past 100 years, though the rainforests of Cape York remain closer to their former extent. Much of the remnant rainforest is now protected within national parks, through World Heritage legislation or by Queensland's Vegetation Management Act 1999. There is a long history of systematic and ecological research in the tropical rainforests, but few long-term studies have been carried out (Box 5.1). The Connell plots were established in 1963; the CSIRO rainforest plot network was established in the 1970s and the Australian Canopy Crane Facility was developed in the late 1990s (Box 5.2). Faunal studies tend to have been focused on single species, although the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University has been working on a growing range of faunal communities since the early 1990s. Significant conceptual developments have arisen from the long-term studies, including hypotheses for how high species diversity is maintained over long periods of time, and an improved understanding of the role that natural disturbances have on the dynamics of forest structure and composition. Recognition of the impact that forest dynamics may have on vertebrate populations, on ecosystem services provision and on the establishment and spread of invasive species has translated into new management approaches and informed policy development. Long-term data have also been fundamental to development of ecosystem response scenarios to anticipated climate change.

Item ID: 33956
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-643-10856-1
Funders: Australian National University (ANU), James Cook University (JCU), La Trobe University, University of Cambridge, University of California, Santa Barbara, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), US National Science Foundation, Australian Research Council (ARC), Earthwatch, Daintree Discovery Centre, Queensland Premier Department
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2014 04:49
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 50%
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