Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage natural criteria
The Wet Tropics of Queensland meets all four World Heritage natural criteria, displaying: features of exceptional natural beauty; outstanding examples of the major stages in the earth's evolutionary history; outstanding examples of ongoing ecological processes and biological evolution; and is a centre of biological diversity and the only habitat for numerous threatened species.
The 894,420ha Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area is extremely important for its rich and unique biodiversity. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988.
The Area is widely cited or implicated in relation to high biodiversity and/or irreplaceability in several recent reviews. The Area is included in the Biodiversity Hotspot “Forests of East Australia”, which is ranked third out of the 35 Global Biodiversity Hotspots.
It also presents an unparalleled record of the ecological and evolutionary processes that shaped the flora and fauna of Australia, containing relics of the Gondwanan forest that covered Australia 50 to 100 million years ago.
All of Australia’s unique marsupials, and most of its other animals, originated in rainforest ecosystems, and their closest surviving relatives occur in the Wet Tropics. These living relics of the Gondwanan era and their subsequent diversification provide unique insights into the process of evolution. They provide us with important information for the interpretation of fossils of plants and animals found elsewhere in Australia, and about the evolution of Australia’s dry adapted sclerophyll (hard leaf) flora and marsupial fauna in particular.
Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage natural criteria identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Heritage Convention.
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