Climate and tropical rainforests

The influence of climate on tropical rainforests, and the forests’ role in the global carbon cycle, will be discussed in a free public lecture in Cairns next Thursday (22 September).

Dr Susan Laurance, a Tropical Leader at James Cook University in Cairns, will discuss the complexity of the interaction between climate and tropical rainforests, which support the richest biological diversity of any terrestrial community.

“Tropical rainforest were once considered to occur in a state of equilibrium, with trees dying and being replaced at a stable rate,” Dr Laurance said.

“But recent large-scale studies are now identifying important changes occurring in rainforests globally.

“Many rainforest sites are increasing in biomass, which suggests these areas are acting as carbon sinks. However, adjacent forest clearing and severe droughts can cause widespread tree death and significant carbon emissions.”

This lecture will broadly explain these global patterns and will focus on Dr Laurance’s research findings from the Amazon basin and projections on the future of Australia’ tropical rainforests.

Dr Susan Laurance is a lecturer in ecology and conservation. Her research interests focus on human impacts on rainforest species and functions.

The lecture will be held in the Crowther Theatre at James Cook University in Smithfield on Thursday 22 September. Wine and cheese will be served from 5.30pm and the lecture will begin at 6.00pm.

Admission is free and all are welcome. To attend please RSVP by calling 4042 1456 or go to and follow the links to register for free public lectures.

Issued September 15, 2011

Media enquiries: E. T. 07 4042 1007