Tropical rainforests

Williams, Stephen E., and Isaac, Joanne L. (2008) Tropical rainforests. In: Lindenmayer, David, Dovers, Stephen, Harriss Olson, Molly Harriss, and Morton, Steve, (eds.) Ten Commitments: reshaping the lucky country's environment. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, pp. 67-72.

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Abstract

Tropical montane cloud forests are a rare environment, defined and limited by the persistent presence of clouds and mists. They account for only 0.26% of the Earths land surface (Bubb et al. 2004). Despite this small area, tropical montane systems contain approximately 25% of all terrestrial biodiversity and therefore represent incredibly important centres of biodiversity, evolution and cultural significance. Australia's only tropical montane forest occurs in the Wet Tropics Bioregion, in North Queensland. This region is 0.1% of Australia's land-mass, but contains approximately 30% of Australia's vertebrate biodiversity and has 83 endemic species which occur nowhere else on earth (Williams 2006). Tropical montane regions in general will be particularly affected by climate change. This is because many species endemic to these regions have narrow environmental niches, are adapted to a cool moist climate, and have little capacity for long distance dispersal (e.g. Foster 2001; Bush and Hooghiemstra 2005). The greatest current threat is climate change (Williams et al. 2003), as well as synergistic effects of a changing climate with other forms of environmental degradation such as weeds, disease, habitat loss and fragmentation. The big challenge to secure the terrestrial ecosystems of the Wet Tropics Bioregion, and indeed all montane tropical rainforest regions worldwide, is therefore to halt climate change and minimise its negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function.

Item ID: 5190
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-643-09585-4
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Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2009 01:16
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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