10 - Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre - James Cook University


10 - Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre - James Cook University



and cooperative links

Image courtesy of The Cairns Post

The Rainforest CRC has been in operation since

1993. During the life of the Centre our researchers

have built up many long-standing collaborations.

In this section, we highlight some examples of such

collaborations, particularly noting recent advances

and developments. Project-level collaborations and

cooperative linkages are detailed in the Research

Programme chapter on page 16.

Strategic Alliance for Sustainable Roads

A strategic alliance was formed in 2002 between the

Rainforest CRC and Queensland Department of Main

Roads (QDMR) to expand on roads research to apply it

to future planning, construction and maintenance of Wet

Tropics roads.

Involving researchers of Project 4.2, the Alliance last

year saw the evaluation of the overall success of faunal

underpasses and overpasses on selected Wet Tropics roads.

Postgraduate studies were also finalised on the possible

restriction of entry of road pollutants into rainforest

waterways. A second phase of the collaboration involved

the application of research to provide best practice

environmental design principles, which have since been

incorporated by QDMR in planning for the Kuranda

Range road upgrade.

In 2004/2005, work continued on established projects

concerning best practice guidelines, underpass

effectiveness, restoration best practice and pollution

control measures. In March 2005 a new strategic

agreement involving $311,740 of QDMR funding for

2005/2006 was created to examine several gaps in the

knowledge base identified during previous projects.

2004-2005 Annual Report


Current projects include:

• Examining traffic noise penetration and the impacts of

noise disturbance on rainforest fauna;

• Investigating current road kill levels and connectivity

on the Kuranda Range road;

• Evaluating the potential of artificial lighting and

headlights to disturb fauna;

• Measuring the effectiveness of long canopy bridges

over highways; and

• Rehabilitating cuttings and embankments, and

ensuring microclimate under Kuranda Range upgrade

bridges is adequate for tree growth.

Faunal underpass monitoring continues and experimental

trials for removal of pollutants from road drainage are


Monitoring Strategy for the Central Eastern Rainforest

Reserves of Australia

Following extensive work undertaken in 2003/2004,

development of a monitoring strategy for the Central

Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia (CERRA)

was finalised and published as a Special Report by the

Rainforest CRC. The Centre was commissioned to

develop the strategy for the World Heritage Area by the

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)

and Queensland Environmental Protection Agency. The

area includes the rainforests of the Scenic Rim to the

west of Brisbane, extending south to the Barrington Tops

area west of Newscastle. Up until recently, no systematic

monitoring of the condition of the World Heritage Values

of the CERRA had been undertaken.

Earthwatch Australia

Rainforest CRC researchers continue to collaborate on the

Earthwatch Institute’s Rainforest to Reef Conservation

Research Initiative. For over three years, Earthwatch

volunteers have assisted Dr David Westcott of CSIRO’s

Tropical Forest Research Centre in studies on seed

dispersal by frugivorous animals in Australia’s tropical

rainforests. Distribution data on seventeen species has

enabled the project team to build comprehensive models

of seed dispersal across the landscape. The work has now

been expanded to a wider range of pristine and altered

habitats to explore how fragmentation is changing forest

dynamics. Dr Steve Williams of James Cook University

is undertaking a project that explores ecology of the

Wet Tropics region. Volunteers are assisting the project

through sampling of the floral and faunal abundance at

a range of altitudes at regional sites. The team is helping

to build predictive models for the conservation of critical

refuge areas and the corridors that connect them during a

period of rapid global warming.

Dr David Westcott (second from left) of CSIRO’s Tropical Forest

Research Centre in Atherton with volunteers from the Earthwatch

Institute’s Rainforest to Reef Conservation Research Initiative (Image

courtesy of Adam McKeown).

New Economic Models for Cape York and Northern


Dr Rosemary Hill of the Australian Conservation

Foundation (ACF) and Associate Professor Steve Turton

of the Rainforest CRC completed a report on potential

models for culturally and environmentally appropriate

economic activities for Indigenous communities of

northern Australia and Cape York Peninsula. The

Rainforest CRC published the report in December 2004

as a record of a Roundtable held in Cairns in November

2003. The publication was presented to key stakeholders

in March 2005 to demonstrate how linking nature

conservation to Indigenous peoples’ role on Country is the

best means of sustainable economic development for the


(From left) Richard Aken, Chair of Balkanu Cape York Development

Corporation with Professor Ian Lowe, President of the Australian

Conservation Foundation and the Rainforest CRC’s Professor Nigel Stork

(Image courtesy of The Cairns Post).

collaboration and cooperative links

collaboration and cooperative links

Catchment to Reef Joint Program

This joint program involves researchers of the Rainforest

CRC, CRC Reef, Australian Centre for Tropical

Freshwater Research, James Cook University, CSIRO,

Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Wet Tropics

Management Authority, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Authority and Australian Institute of Marine Science.

The program was established in 2003 to develop new

tools to assess and monitor the health of catchments

and aquatic systems in both the Wet Tropics and Great

Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas. Now into its third

year, the Program is approaching its wind-up phase that

will include publication of its achievements through

best practice manuals, technical reports and community

education. The Program consists of seven research tasks

reported against under the Research Programme chapter

(page 16).

Wet Tropics Regional Natural Resource Management


Following another extensive effort by researchers

of Program 1, the Wet Tropics Natural Resource

Management (NRM) Plan was completed. Preparation

of the Plan involved incorporation of existing natural

resource strategies, identification of gaps in current

knowledge and management practices and establishment

of targets for managing the condition of Wet Tropics

natural and cultural resources. Development of the Plan

involved collaboration and consultation with researchers,

Traditional Owners, Commonwealth and State

Government agencies, local governments and the broader

community. A background history to the development

of the Wet Tropics NRM Plan can be accessed at


Wet Tropics Aboriginal Cultural and Natural

Resource Management Plan

The Wet Tropics Aboriginal Cultural and Natural

Resource Management Plan, or ‘The Aboriginal Plan’ as

it is known, was produced to form part of the overall Wet

Tropics Natural Resource Management Plan. The Wet

Tropics NRM region includes the traditional country

of seventeen Aboriginal language groups. Following

three years’ intensive consultation and collaboration, The

Aboriginal Plan was finalised and published this year.

Further information about The Aboriginal Plan can be

accessed at http://www.fnqnrm.com.au/.

Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity

Rainforest CRC research has continued to strengthen our

understanding of the impacts of climate change not only

in northern Australia but also across the tropics of the

world. Researchers of Project 2.5 this year completed the

development of a working predictive model to determine

habitat suitability for and distribution of a species based

on environmental conditions. This research led to the

Rainforest CRC’s involvement in an international study

sponsored by the National Center for Ecological Analysis

and Synthesis in the United States. Project 2.5 primarily

aims to assist in the conservation of rainforest ecosystems

and their biota in the face of rapid climate change. Results

are being used nationally by government agencies to

inform conservation policy and practice. Internationally,

the team are contributing to the science of climate change

impacts on biodiversity. Other highlights are detailed in

the Research Programme chapter on page 16.

Dr Steve Williams of James Cook University co-leads Project 2.5 with

Dr David Hilbert of CSIRO’s Tropical Forest Research Centre in

Atherton. Research conducted by the Project 2.5 group suggests we have

underestimated the impact of global warming on species abundance,

particularly in the Wet Tropics (Image courtesy of James Cook University).

Global Canopy Programme and UNEP (GEF)

The Global Canopy Programme was established in 2000

to link existing and new projects studying the world’s

forest canopies into one integrated global programme of

research, education and conservation. The Programme

links with the International Canopy Crane Network, a

consortium of twelve canopy cranes located around the

world, of which the Australian Canopy Crane (managed

by the Rainforest CRC) is a member. The United Nations

Environment Programme, with financial support from the

Global Environment Facility, has provided funding for

the development of a series of ‘whole forest observatories’

across the tropics. These will be linked to others already

in existence including the Australian Canopy Crane.

Rainforest CRC researchers will be involved in a worldwide

investigation into how climate change might alter

the way forests function and the consequential risks to

humans and the diversity of life that these forests sustain.

See the Australian Canopy Crane chapter on page 82.

2004-2005 Annual Report


Contracts And Consultancies

This year saw the commencement or continuation of 23 collaborative research consultancies with 15 organisations.

Funding Agency Project Details and Researchers Involved Total Period Amount

of Contract 04/05 Year

Australian Taxation Office GIS Studies 2004-2005 $23,364

Professor David Gillieson (JCU)

Bamanga Bubu Evaluation of Mossman Community-based Plan 2004-2005 $5,000

Ngadimunku Inc. Dr Joan Bentrupperbäumer (JCU)

Brisbane City Council Wildlife Surveillance Assessment of the Compton Road Upgrade 2004-2005 $3,636

Dr Miriam Goosem (JCU)

Department of Environment Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia 2004-2005 $16,000

and Conservation (NSW) Monitoring Strategy Mr Guy Chester (JCU)

Douglas Shire Council Daintree Alternative Futures Costing and Ferry Reports 2004-2005 $32,982

Mr Guy Chester (JCU)

FNQ NRM Ltd Regional Natural Resource Management Plan Preparation 2001-2005 $210,438

Professor Geoff McDonald (CSIRO)

Mackay Whitsunday Reigonal Natural Resource Management Plan Preparation 2004-2005 $54,400

NRM Board

Professor Geoff McDonald (CSIRO)

Natural Heritage Trust Catchment to Reef Research Project 2004-2005 $250,000

Professor Richard Pearson (JCU)

Powerlink Queensland Edge Effects of Linear Clearings and Openings on the Dynamics 2004-2005 $2,000

of Rainforest Tree Species Ms Catherine Pohlman (JCU)

Queensland Department Kuranda Range Roads – Applying Research to Planning 2004-2005 $40,843

of Main Roads

Associate Professor Steve Turton (JCU)

Queensland Department Mission Beach Roads – Monitoring Cassowary Population 2004-2005 $4,000

of Main Roads

Dr Miriam Goosem (JCU)

Queensland Department East Evelyn Road Underpass – Monitoring Underpass Effectiveness 2004-2005 $12,273

of Main Roads

Dr Miriam Goosem (JCU)

Queensland Department Prototype Culvert Fishway on University Creek – Stage 2 2004-2005 $33,636

of Main Roads

Mr Ross Kapitzke (JCU)

Queensland Department Best Practice Cut Design 2004-2005 $7,500

of Main Roads

Mr Nigel Tucker (JCU)

Queensland Department Road Runoff and Bioavailability of Contaminants 2004-2005 $4,063

of Main Roads

Associate Professor Bernd Lottermoser (JCU)

Queensland Department Revegetation and Hydromulching of Road Verges and Cuttings 2004-2005 $5,590

of Main Roads

Mr Nigel Tucker (JCU)

Queensland Department Sunrise Kuku-Yalanji Fire Management Handbook 2004-2005 $29,000

of Natural Resources Dr Rosemary Hill (ACF and JCU)

and Mines

Queensland Department Global Canopy Programme 2002-2004 $5,000

of Premier and Cabinet Professor Nigel Stork (JCU)

Queensland Environmental Investigation into Amphibian Diseases and their Treatment 2004-2005 $20,000

Protection Agency Associate Professor Rick Speare (JCU)

Rural Industries Research Assessment of Agroforestry Projects in Northern Australia using 2002-2005 $12,500

and Development the Australian Farm Forestry Financial Model


Dr John Herbohn (UQ)

Wet Tropics Management Rainforest Dieback: Monitoring and Assessment Program 2002-2005 $11,250


Associate Professor Paul Gadek (JCU)

Wet Tropics Management Lorentz World Heritage Area – Cairns Training Program 2004 $6,465


Mr Guy Chester (JCU)

Wet Tropics Management Lorentz World Heritage Area – Strategic Plan Preparation 2004-2005 $22,727


Mr Guy Chester (JCU)

Total for 2004/2005 $812,667

collaboration and cooperative links

collaboration and cooperative links

International Visitors

Rainforest CRC participants have a proven track record in collaboration with international scientists and researchers

on work directly related to Centre projects. Example project links, research collaboration and duration of visits by

international visitors are provided here.

Visitors Project Link Details Duration of Visit

Dr Yves Bassett Project 3.1 Discussions relating to future rainforest canopy Ten days

Smithsonian Tropical Research

project collaboration

Institute, Panama

Mr Nicolas Nieullet Project 3.2 Internship based at the Australian Canopy Crane Six months

ENGREF (French Institute of

in Cape Tribulation

Forestry, Agricultural and

Environmental Engineering), France

Dr Paulo Massoca Project 5.1 Collaborative research into reforestation Three months

Sao Paulo State University, Brazil

Dr Jeremy Carew-Reid Project 5.1 Collaborative research into reforestation One week

International Center for

Environmental Management,


Dr Bill Laurance Project 5.2 Seminar presentation and discussions relating to One day

Smithsonian Tropical Research

future research

Institute, Panama

Dr Edson Leite Project 5.3 Post doctoral research under Project 5.3 based at Twelve months

EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural

The University of Queensland in Brisbane

Research Corporation), Brazil

Professor Adina Merenlender Project 6.5 Research during sabbatical leave Twelve months

The University of California,

Berkeley, USA

Dr Vicki Funk Project 6.5 On-going collaboration with Project 6.5 tasks Three weeks

Smithsonian Institution,

Washington, USA

Professor Craig Moritz Project 6.5 On-going collaboration with Project 6.5 tasks Two weeks

The University of California,

Berkeley, USA

Dr Igor Bartish Project 6.5 Hosted by Dr Andrew Ford and CSIRO Two weeks

Swedish Museum of Natural

History, Sweden

Tropical Forest Research Centre Herbarium.

Seeking members of the Family Sapotaceae,

including Pouteria and Niemeyera.

Dr Sahotra Sarkar Project 6.5 Collaboration with Dr Chris Margules on One month

The University of Texas, Austin, USA

Systematic Conservation Planning Theory

Dr Shonil Bhagwat Project 6.5 Exploration of opportunities for collaboration Two weeks

The Natural History Museum,

London, UK

on conservation planning and management issues

in the Wet Tropics region for comparison with the

Western Ghats of India

Ms Susan Cameron Project 6.5 Collaboration with Project 6.5 tasks Two months

The University of California,

Davis, USA

Dr Miriam Weber Catchment to Collaborative research into the effects of Twelve months

Max Planch Institute for Marine Reef Task 6 nutrient-enriched sedimentation on corals

Microbiology, Bremen

Dr Peter Raven Commun- Invited to present public seminar at One week

Missouri Botanical Gardens ications James Cook University

Visit to the Australian Canopy Crane

2004-2005 Annual Report


Some of the cooperative linkages established by Project 2.5 during the

course of the Rainforest CRC. Opportunities for alliances to increase the

scope and impact of climate change research activities are represented in the

right-hand column.

The Rainforest CRC hosted a special public seminar by renowned botanist

and advocate of conservation and biodiversity, Dr Peter Raven, who

heads the Missouri Botanical Garden. Entitled ‘How Many Species Will

Survive the 21st Century’, Dr Raven’s talk raised issues directly relating

to the Wet Tropics regional area, noting that despite current efforts to

preserve areas such as the Wet Tropics, further work was still required if

future generations were to enjoy and learn from the regional landscape as

we have. (Image courtesy of Shannon Hogan)

Visitors to the Australian

Canopy Crane this year

included Tim and Gina

Fairfax of Brisbane, and

John and Janet Calvert-

Jones of Melbourne (Image

courtesy of Nigel Stork).

collaboration and cooperative links

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