Wet Tropics of Queensland
Factors affecting the property in 2000*
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Interpretative and visitation facilities
- Invasive/alien terrestrial species
- Management systems/ management plan
- Other climate change impacts
- Water (extraction)
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of funds (issue resolved);
- Delayed planning process (issue resolved);
- Hydropower development project (issue resolved);
- Need for a comprehensive assessment of the issues at the sites and a conservation plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2000
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2000**
early 1992: IUCN mission
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000
ACIUCN has completed its report entitled ‘Condition, Management and Threats’ on the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area (please refer to WHC-2000/CONF.203/INF.6) and has identified a number of recommendations. The report was compiled over several months culminating in its adoption by ACIUCN at its forty-second Ordinary Meeting convened on 6-7 September 2000. The State Party has co-operated closely with other members of ACIUCN in the preparation of this report. The overall report provides a comprehensive assessment of the issues in the Wet Tropics of Queensland and outlines 19 recommendations. As it had done in the case of the Great Barrier Reef and Shark Bay World Heritage Areas of Australia, ACIUCN undertook a cluster analysis of the 19 recommendations in consultation with the members of the working group and ACIUCN. This analysis identified four priority action areas or “Focused Recommendations”:
1. Support for Management of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area (Recommendations 13 and 19 in the ACIUCN Report)
The Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area was inscribed on the World Heritage List in September 1988. It is subject to many and changing pressures and interactions of human use that can impact on its complex and incompletely understood ecosystems. The first Wet Tropics Management Plan was not completed until May 1998. Implementation of that plan requires ongoing commitment of expertise and resources.
ACIUCN recommends that the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments commit to a strategy, including a revised intergovernmental agreement incorporating a new financial agreement, which will provide and sustain adequate resources to enable the Wet Tropics Management Plan and the Strategic Plan 1998-2003 to be fully implemented. This should be done with particular regard to field management, education, partnership building, research, monitoring, provision and maintenance of facilities and the capacity for strategic analysis and planning such as that required for the review of the Plan in 2003.
2. Management of Native and Introduced Species (Recommendations 2, 3, 4, 10, 17 and 18 in the ACIUCN Report)
The needs and most appropriate management regimes for management of many native plant and animal species are poorly understood. Matters of concern include optimum fire management strategies and the factors underlying the decline in several frog species. There is also a need to address the problems caused by exotic plant and animal species, introduced for agricultural or domestic purposes, which have now become weed, feral or invasive threatening native plant and animal communities.
ACIUCN recommends that substantial effort be applied to research, education, partnership building, and planning to address the protection of native vegetation, the management of fire, the control of current feral and exotic species and the management of the introduction of species in order to minimise the risk of impacts on native flora and fauna and to identify and address the threats to sensitive native species.
3. Management of Land Use and Human Impacts Within and Beyond the Boundaries of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area (Recommendations 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 15 in the ACIUCN Report)
Long term protection of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area and its associated values depends on containing and minimising the impacts of human use and activity upon the native flora, fauna and ecological processes. The provision of services for human use and access can have significant adverse impacts. There is concern at the potential for ecological damage within the area as a result of provision of roads and electricity, the extraction of water, the development of facilities for tourism and the effects of climate change and global warming. There is also concern that inappropriate management of lands and crop species in the region but outside the World Heritage area have the potential to create adverse impacts within the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area and the adjoining Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
ACIUCN recommends that management of land use and the provision of services for residential, urban, industrial and tourism developments be subject to full environmental assessment, impact minimisation and monitoring, taking into account the implications of climate change. The design for such facilities should be required to avoid and address fragmentation of habitat of native species through the fullest use of measures including strategic land acquisition.
Furthermore, ACIUCN reiterates policies adopted at earlier meetings that called for the rejection of proposals to construct the Tully Millstream Dam and to extend the electricity grid north of the Daintree River; however, a review of ACIUCN’s position on mains power north of the Daintree may be appropriate when the Daintree Futures Study (which seeks to secure a sustainable future for the Daintree coastal region) is finalised.
4. Strategic Issues for Future Management (Recommendations 1, 14 and 16 in the ACIUCN Report)
The current Strategic Plan covers the period 1998 – 2003 and identifies the need to review the boundaries of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area. The principal objective of such a review should be to increase the integrity of the World Heritage Area. Since the area was inscribed on the List greater understanding of the cultural values of the area has developed and hence, the need for greater indigenous involvement in the management of the area and the factors affecting the integrity of the boundaries for several distinctive species have gained recognition.
ACIUCN recommends that:
· the cultural values of the area for indigenous people should be formally documented and that there should be increased indigenous involvement in management negotiated with traditional owners and their representatives;
· the area be re-nominated as World Heritage for its cultural values and to take account of any changes to boundaries to increase the integrity of the area that may arise from the boundary review;
· at least one member of the Board of the Wet Tropics Management Authority be a person recognised as an expert by the conservation movement.
In its letter of 15 September 2000, the State Party has informed the Centre that it closely co-operated with ACIUCN in the preparation of the report on Wet Tropics and that it will advise, in consultation with the Wet Tropics Management Authority, the twenty-fourth extraordinary session of the Bureau steps to implement the focused recommendations that have been elaborated as part of the ACIUCN process.
Summary of the interventions
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2000
24 BUR IV.B.22
State of conservation
World Natural Heritage Properties of Australia
The Bureau noted that progress reports on the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland would be reviewed by the twenty-fourth extraordinary session of the Bureau.
24 COM VIII.24
World Natural Heritage Properties of Australia
VIII.24 World Natural Heritage Properties of Australia
Shark Bay, Western Australia
Great Barrier Reef
The Secretariat informed the Committee that a letter on the recent grounding incident was received from the Australian authorities on 28 November 2000 and that a report will be presented to the twenty-fifth session of the World Heritage Bureau in 2001.
Central Eastern Australian Rainforest Reserves
Wet Tropics of Queensland
The Bureau, based on State Party’s advice to be made available at the time of its twenty-fourth extraordinary session may wish to take appropriate decisions and make recommendations for the consideration of the State Party, advisory bodies and the Centre.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).