TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

A tropical protection project

TitleA tropical protection project
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsKennard, MJ, Kimber, A
MagazineRipRap, Australian River Restoration Centre
Edition34, Chapter 22
Date Published52-53

Innovative research is underway in northern Australia to assess and better protect the area’s unique and highly valued freshwater ecosystems.  Australia’s tropical rivers fl ow through the world’s largest area of good condition savanna, with almost all of its 56 major rivers flowing freely to the sea. The region contains one of the most biologically diverse and healthy freshwater aquatic ecosystems in the world. These rivers sustain more than half of Australia’s freshwater fish species, three quarters of the freshwater turtles, and they are of great importance for more than 90 species of migratory birds. They not only provide clean water, food and recreational opportunities, but have important cultural and ecological values.  The continuing discovery of new fish species suggests the real amount of unique biodiversity present in northern Australia’s rivers and wetlands is signifi cantly underestimated. The ecological health of these freshwater habitats is, however, declining due to a range of threats including feral animals, weeds, overgrazing, catchment clearing and fi re. Increased development and climate change pose new challenges.