Why are the Wet Tropics Rainforests World Heritage Listed?

 

The Wet Tropics fulfils four criteria for inclusion on the World Heritage List as a ‘natural heritage’ as defined under the World Heritage Convention:

 

I. It contains superlative natural phenomena of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;

 

II. It has outstanding examples representing the major stages of the earth’s evolutionary history;

 

III. It has outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial ecosystems and communities of plants; and

 

IV. It has the most important and significant habitats for in situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species.  (Goosem, 2002)

 

National Heritage List

 

The Wet Topics of Queensland World Heritage Area was also listed on the National Heritage List for its natural and cultural attributes on 21 May 2008 for the following criteria:

 

I. The place has outstanding heritage value to the nation because of the place’s importance in the course, or pattern, of Australia’s natural or cultural history.

 

II. The place has outstanding heritage value to the nation because of the place’s possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Australia’s natural or cultural history;

 

III. The place has outstanding heritage value to the nation because of the place’s potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Australia’s natural or cultural history;

 

IV. The place has outstanding heritage value to the nation because of the place’s importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of:

 

a. a class of Australia’s natural or cultural places; or

b. a class of Australia’s natural or cultural environments

 

V. The place has outstanding heritage value to the nation because of the place’s importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics valued by a community or cultural group.

 

Wet Tropics

World Heritage Area

 

.The Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area (WTQWHA) was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988 and covers an area of 894,420 hectares. The WTQWHA boundary measures approximately 3,000 kilometres.

 

FACTS AND FIGURES

 

The World Heritage Area covers nearly 900 000ha, extending more than 400km between Cooktown and Townsville. It covers only 0.12% of Australia’s total land mass but has:

 

• 40% of Australia’s bird species

• 30% of Australia’s mammal species

• 60% of Australia’s butterfly species

• 21% of Australia’s reptile species

• 21% of Australia’s cycad species

• 29% of Australia’s frog species

• 65% of Australia’s fern species

• 30% of Australia’s orchid species

 

About 300 000 people live in or within 50km of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

 

The Wet Tropics currently receives about 2.5 million visits per year.

 

 

 

Wet Tropics Evolutionary Timeline