Steve Turton writes in The Conversation (31.3.16) about the threat posed to north Queensland’s precious Wet Tropics region by invasive animal species, if governments don’t sufficiently support research into the region’s biodiversity.
‘The largest area of tropical rainforest in Australia – the so-called Wet Tropics – is a narrow strip along the northeast coast of the continent, totalling about 2 million hectares. It represents just 0.26% of the continent, but is crammed with hugely diverse landscapes: rainforests, sclerophyll forests, mangrove forests and shrublands, as well as areas of intensive agriculture and expanding urban rural population centres.
‘The Wet Tropics are home to a dizzying array of plants and animals. These include at least 663 vertebrate species, 230 butterflies, 135 different dung beetles and a remarkable 222 types of land snail. The area is teeming with more than 4,000 plant species, including 16 of the world’s 28 lineages of primitive flowering plant families.
‘In all, the Wet Tropics bioregion contains 185 distinct ecosystems. Of these, 18 are officially listed as endangered and 134 are of conservation concern.’