Mapping to help manage tropical littoral rainforest

1 March 2017

Hub researchers have produced cutting-edge mapping of critically endangered littoral rainforest in Queensland’s Wet Tropics.

“Littoral rainforests help protect coastal settlements, infrastructure and other assets from threats such as erosion, and provide critical habitat for biodiversity such as the endangered cassowary,” project leader CSIRO’s Dr Helen Murphy explains.

“Our mapping is helping managers of this important forest type to better understand and address threats such as storm-surge, sea level rise and extreme weather events”.

The maps, produced under this project, identify three different types of littoral rainforest – Refugial, Leading-edge and Buffer – by their frequency of inundation. They also show inundation associated with sea level rise and a range of storm-surge scenarios.

The mapping methodology, which can be applied to defining littoral rainforest throughout Queensland, is assisting managers to better protect the forest and the services it provides into the future by helping to prioritise management options.

“Our project has addressed key gaps in understanding of where, when and what management action is required to help maintain and recover littoral rainforest,” Dr Murphy said.

The work is being used by local government and has informed the draft recovery plan for the EPBC Act listed ‘Littoral rainforest and costal vine thickets of eastern Australia’ ecological community, which is out for public comment until 26 May.

You can read a summary of the research findings here, and a more detailed report, including a full list of proposed management actions, here. The mapping itself is available on CSIRO’s data portal.

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