The Wet Tropics
North-eastern Australia is very diverse because it is jam packed full of very close, but very different, ecosystems and their smaller vegetation communities; coral reefs, sea grass communities, mangroves, beaches, rocky shores, wet schlerophyll forest, tropical open forests and woodlands.
The terrestrial part of north-eastern Queensland is known as the 'Wet Tropics', with one of Australia's most beautiful towns, Cairns, at it's centre. The 'Wet Tropics' has, as the name suggests, Australia's highest rainfall and thus supports the continent's main tropical rainforest.
At 0.1% of the countries' land mass, however, tropical rainforest covers only a tiny area in the driest inhabited continent on the planet. But for it's small size the 'Wet Tropics' contains a ridiculously large proportion of Australia's biodiversity within in it's boundaries. For example, it has:
- 36 % of Australia's mammals species can be found in the Wet Tropics region,
- 50% of the birds,
- 23% of the reptiles,
- 27% of the frogs,
- 37% of the freshwater fish, (Ritchie et al 1995)
- 60% of the butterfly species,
- 65% of the ferns,
- 21% of the cycad species,
- 37% of the conifer species,
- 30% of the orchid species, (Trott 1996)
- and the richest insect fauna of any area of the country.
Script: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide