Climate change pressure on the Wet Tropics of Queensland
The Wet Tropics of Queensland is recognised as being extremely sensitive to climate change which is changing the distribution patterns and population densities of many Wet Tropics species.
Climate change threatens to disrupt the finely balanced ecological and climatic conditions that support the distinctive assemblage of plants and animals that exist in the Wet Tropics, resulting in potentially rapid and catastrophic changes.
- Changed weather patterns could seriously affect plant and animal species vulnerable to a warmer and more variable climate, and impact cloud stripping and associated water cycles.
- Most of the restricted locally endemic fauna species of the Wet Tropics are high-altitude specialists with limited thermal tolerances (the entire temperature range that permits survival).
- More frequent and severe heatwaves could have rapid, catastrophic impacts on the number of tree-dwelling (arboreal) mammals in some high elevation locations.
- The risk of more intense cyclones could further disrupt ecosystem structure and function.
Climate change is exacerbating impacts of other threatening processes such as fragmentation, invasive species and changing water and fire regimes.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Accept, Act, Adapt: Climate Adaptation Plan for the Wet Tropics: 2020–2030 aims to establish regional adaptation planning frameworks, improve landscape resilience and support a transition to adaptive communities and industries.