OF more than 173,000 protected areas, the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is the second most ‘‘irreplaceable’’ natural World Heritage Areas on earth and the sixth most irreplaceable protected area, according to a team of international scientists.
Data on the world’s 173,461 terrestrial protected areas and 21,419 species on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species were analysed to provide advice on improving the effectiveness of the earth’s protected areas in protecting our global biodiversity.
An area’s level of irreplaceability reflects the dependence of wildlife species on that area for survival, with the level of irreplaceability increasing the more a species is restricted to that area.
A high number of species in the Wet Tropics are only found here such as the mahogany glider and our two tree- kangaroo species. These, along with the area’s large number of threatened species such as the southern cassowary and their distinct habitats, contributed to the Wet Tropics’ high score of irreplaceability.
The high irreplaceability ranking of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area comes alongside a commitment by Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, to fund the Wet Tropics Management Authority for the next five years.
Wet Tropics Management Authority executive director, Andrew Maclean, said he was delighted with Minister Hunt’s continued support and vision for World Heritage management in far north Queensland.
‘‘The ranking of the Wet Tropics in the top list of irreplaceable protected areas highlights the extraordinary and special place that the Wet Tropics region plays in the conservation of the earth’s biodiversity. It also emphasises our responsibilities both locally and internationally in strategically managing our resources.’’