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World Heritage Rainforest

Wet Tropics

Dedicated in 1988, the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area are distributed across 894, 450 ha in northern coastal Queensland. The area is particularly unusual because of its extensive connection of rainforest with coral reef, a situation rare throughout the world1

The Wet Tropics rainforest is the most diverse of all Australian rainforests, hosting primitive and more recently evolved species. The diversity of the Wet Tropics includes Gondwanan and Indo-Malaysian lineages mixed together along strong environmental gradients. This combination has lead to one of the highest levels of endemism (species found only in the local area) per unit area in the world1, 2.


The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (previously known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia, CERRA) stretches from Barrington Tops in New South Wales to the Main Range in Queensland, incorporating 50 reserves over approximately 1000 km. The region was originally listed in 1986 and extended in 1994.

The Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area is the most extensive transect of subtropical rainforest in the world, and contains nearly all known sites of Antarctic Beech (Nothofagus moorei) rainforest. Unique geological features such as volcanic shields (for example, Wollumbin - Mount Warning) and high escarpments, and the range of soil types and altitudes, have led to a high degree of diversification. Although the area only represents 0.3% of the Australian landmass, it contains plants from half of all recognised Australian families3


The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is approximately 1.6 million ha including 306 000 ha of rainforest. The region was initially inscribed in 1982 and then extended in 1989, 2010, 2012 and 20134, 5

The broader World Heritage Area represents one of the largest intact wilderness areas in the southern hemisphere. Tasmania retains one of the world’s largest regions of cool temperate rainforest dominated by Myrtle Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii). Tasmanian rainforest is also rich in bryophytes, lichen, amphibians, birds and insects. 
  1.  Department of the Environment and Energy (no date) World Heritage Places – Wet Tropics of Queensland. Canberra. Accessed 1st September 2017. 
  2. UNESCO (2017) World Heritage Center – Wet Tropics of Queensland. Accessed 29th August 2017.
  3.  Department of the Environment and Energy (no date) World Heritage Places – Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. Canberra. Accessed 1st September 2017. 
  4. Balmer, J., Whinam, J., Kelman, J., Kirkpatrick, J., Lazarus, E (2004) A review of the florisitic values of the Tasmanian Wilderness Wold Heritage Area. Nature Conservation Report 2004/3. Department of Primary Industries Water and Environment, Tasmania, Australia. 
  5. Department of the Environment and Energy (no date) World Heritage Places – Tasmania Wilderness. Canberra. Accessed 31st August 2017.