Wildlife of Australia's Rainforest

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Wildlife of Australia’s Rainforest

What is the impact of climate change on the habitats and wildlife of Australia’s rainforests?

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Sixty percent of rainforest species could become endangered or critically endangered during the course of this century.

Join researchers in investigating the global impact of climate change on tropical rainforests, using Australia’s wet tropics as an example.

Preliminary studies examining the predicted impacts of global warming on the wildlife of the Australian tropical rainforests suggest that climate change could bring about catastrophic extinctions here, and by implication, in mountain systems around the world. For example, based on an average prediction for climate change, 60% of all rainforest species could become endangered or critically endangered during the course of this century. The situation for the 73 species of vertebrates that are found here and nowhere else in the world is even bleaker—50% are likely to become extinct in the same time period.

Frog, Australian Cloud Forest

Collect vital data which will be used to build a better understanding of the effects of climate change.

As temperatures warm, animals living in “islands” of cooler mountaintop habitat will be forced ever higher until they run out of mountain. Other rainforest life may be restricted from shifting their range due to barriers from land clearing, roads and fences, weeds, or feral animals. Preparing to conserve rainforest biodiversity in the face of these enormous changes will require a deeper understanding of the current ranges and populations of forest creatures. As a volunteer, you’ll help measure the distribution and abundance of animals in the unrivaled Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and help shape the scientific response to climate change.

About the research area

Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, North Queensland, Australia, Australia & South Pacific

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, James Cook University

ABOUT Steve Williams

Earthwatch researcher Professor Steve Williams investigates the impact of climate change on the wildlife and habitats of Australia’s Queensland Wet Tropics.


Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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