Funding to help biodiversity study

Article image - Funding to help biodiversity study Study to unlock the secrets of Eungella rainforest Eungella will be part of an international scientific study that will help monitor the impacts of climate change on the biodiversity of the picturesque national park.

Mackay Regional Council has approved funding of $115,000 to partner with researchers from Griffith University’s School of Environment to complete a Biodiversity, Monitoring and Research Study Project.

Mayor Deirdre Comerford said the Eungella study was significant to the international scientific community.

“Eungella is a special place comprising species found nowhere else on Earth and this unique study project has the potential to provide critical information and results for the climate change debate.”

A team of six scientists will survey 20 rainforest sites at four different elevations to determine which species are unique to particular parts of the rainforest and how they adapt to different climates. Information yielded will determine which species will require ongoing monitoring as our climate changes.

Research Professor Roger Kitching said the study would fill a crucial gap in the knowledge of one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Australia.

“We expect to find thousands of species of insects and their relatives, many of which are likely to be new to science.”

Parks and Environment portfolio councillor Theresa Morgan said the landmark project would help protect, manage and enhance the park’s ecology.

“The study, to be funded through the Natural Environment Levy, has the potential to unlock some secrets about Eungella and its habitat and is the largest survey ever invested in the biodiversity of such a unique, natural wonder.”

The survey will start in November this year and culminate in March 2014.

The project has been endorsed by the Natural Environment Advisory Committee, Council’s Sustainable Futures Committee and community groups such as the Mackay Conservation Group, Mackay Bush Walking Club and Society for Growing Australian Plants.