The Wet Tropics NRM Cluster includes four NRM regions across north-eastern Queensland. It extends from the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac region in the south to the Torres Strait islands in the north, excluding areas of dry topics around Townsville. The Wet Tropics NRM region includes low-lying coastal areas, inland plains and subcoastal ranges and contains globally significant savannas, the vast majority of Australia’s tropical rainforests, wetlands and low lying tropical islands. The Cluster region contains the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas, as well as a high proportion of the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
Along with very high biodiversity values, there are numerous and substantial economic and cultural values including extensive and intensive agriculture, tourism, mining, and large areas of Indigenous lands. Much of the NRM Cluster’s area is ‘highly contested’ with multiple and sometimes conflicting demands for the region’s natural resources. Climate change is likely to exacerbate the issues and challenges.
Wet Tropics Cluster NRM groups convened a meeting in 2012 to articulate their priority information needs in relation to climate change impacts and adaptation research and NRM planning. During 2013 and 2014, representatives from NRM groups in the Wet Tropics Cluster identified additional detail in relation to their information needs during two workshops. These were used to develop the research project Knowledge to manage land and sea: A framework for the future. NRM priority information needs continue to be updated throughout the project and in relation to specific research projects. Key research projects in the Wet Tropics Cluster include: