Regional Themes

The Wet Tropics region is one of the most unique and diverse places on earth. There are many things about it that people value.  However, there are also many things that people are concerned about.

Wet Tropics NRM - ant on leaf

For the purposes of developing the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country, it was necessary to not only look at the big picture but also shine the spotlight on the top priorities that people care about the most.

Extensive discussions with individuals and groups in the early stages of the plan review highlighted a number of key resounding themes which were common at both the local and regional scales. These have subsequently become the Regional Themes for the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country.  In combination with the Local Landscapes, they provide frameworks from which the information and content of the plan can be considered.

Throughout this plan, there is a pattern of reference to these regional themes.  This includes the provision of information, references, useful links, priority actions and mapping resources.

It is important to note that there is no easy or ideal way to ‘cut the pie’ of regional NRM. These themes are not distinct and there are many areas of overlap. Many of our priority actions deliver on multiple themes. However, for the purposes of this plan they will provide a focus for our effort and, in addition, form the basis of monitoring our progress.

Overarching Themes

These are the 2 overarching themes of the plan that are used across all elements, both local and regional.

Cultural connections image Cultural Connections recognises the past, present and ongoing relationship that the Traditional Owners of the Wet Tropics have with the landscape.  In addition, it is understood that Traditional Owners  have the right to be fully involved in, and benefit from natural resource management in this region.  Climate futures icon Climate Futures recognises that there is scientific consensus about climate change.  It is therefore critical to understand the implications of this when planning how we manage our landscape.

The Wet Tropics Big 5

The Wet Tropics Big 5 are the regional themes that form the basis of NRM in the Wet Tropics. The Regional Themes are integral to the Plan Logic with a regional landscape goal defined for each one.

Biodiversity Wet Tropics NRM
Biosecurity Wet Tropics NRM
Water Wet Tropics NRM
Sustainable Industries Wet Tropics NRM
Coastal Systems Wet Tropics NRM

Biodiversity relates to the incredible spectrum of plants and animals in the region.  This includes both on the land and in the water.

Biosecurity relates to the significant impact that current and potential future invasive species have on our region’s ecosystems and productivity. Water relates to the rivers and streams flowing through the region and beyond to the Great Barrier Reef. Sustainable Industries relates to the sectors that drive the economy of the region and so underpin our livelihoods and lifestyles. Coastal Systems relates to the unique values and interconnectedness of our coastal zone.  It includes the wide range of interactions, including natural and human, that influence how well it functions.

Strategic Outcomes

Across all of the Wet Tropics Big 5 themes, a suite of enabling outcomes were repeatedly identified as critical to the long-term protection of our Wet Tropics landscape.

As a result, the remarkable commonality in the messages from the Wet Tropics Big 5 workshops led to the identification of 5 cross-cutting strategic outcomes for this plan.

They relate to:

  • Planning and policy
  • Collaborative, adaptive planning and on-ground action
  • Traditional Owner benefits
  • Sustained resourcing and
  • Community values

Regional Land Partnerships National Priorities

The Wet Tropics community has been instrumental in identifying and developing the Regional Themes and goals  through this planning process.  In addition, there are a range of other processes which also help guide strategic action on natural and cultural resource management.

Of particular significance is the Australian Government’s Regional Land Partnerships program, which aims to protect and conserve Australia’s water, soil, plants, animals and ecosystems, as well as support the productive and sustainable use of these valuable resources.

The Federal Government has partnered with various organisations to deliver on-ground natural resource management projects targeting key national environment and sustainable agriculture priorities at the regional level.  Six key outcomes have been identified which  aim to benefit Australia’s environment, farms and communities.  These outcomes provide important strategic direction to regional communities:

  1. Outcome 1: By 2023 there is restoration of, and reduction in threats to, the Ecological Character of Ramsar sites, through the implementation of priority actions.
  2. Outcome 2: By 2023, the trajectory of species targeted under the Threatened Species Strategy, and other EPBC Act listed priority species, is stabilised or improved.
  3. Outcome 3: By 2023, invasive species management has reduced threats to the natural heritage Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage properties through the implementation of priority actions.
  4. Outcome 4: By 2023, the implementation of priority actions is leading to an improvement in the condition of EPBC Act listed Threatened Ecological Communities.
  5. Outcome 5: By 2023, there will be an increased awareness and adoption of land resource management practices that protect the condition of soil, vegetation and biodiversity on-farm.
  6. Outcome 6: By 2023, there is an increase in the capacity of agriculture systems to adapt to significant changes in climate and market demands for information on provenance and sustainable production.