HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2023

19 December 2023

Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year season. What a way to end – with Cyclone Jasper and flooding. Our thoughts are with you all as the clean-up and recovery gets underway.

During another challenging and rewarding year, thanks for your support – at a time when it has never been more important to focus on everything from soil health, waterway health and biodiversity to climate and regenerative economies.

Highlights this year include the success of our first Soil to Food Conference which was well received by the region’s farmers, the second North Queensland Threatened Species Symposium and a Wet Tropics Waterways Shared Solutions Forum, as well as formation of the Wet Tropics Restoration Alliance in partnership with the Wet Tropics Management Authority and James Cook University. Over the past 20 years we’ve seen time and time again the benefits of bringing many partners together in one room, or one paddock. It leads to actions that bring maximum benefit to individuals, groups and the sustainability of our region as a whole.

Being part of COP15 in Montreal and last week’s COP28 in Dubai were also defining moments, thanks to support from the Australian and Queensland governments. These events took the values and needs of our region to a global audience. And participation in SOCAP 23, a global social impact conference, has increased our understanding of opportunities for this region within the emerging environmental market. All of this has given us fresh insights on potential new sources of investment to repair and regenerate landscapes and waterways in our region.

Several four-year projects were completed this year. Through them we have made significant progress, with our partners, in restoring rainforests, woodlands and farming landscapes, in improving conditions for threatened species and moving towards more sustainable farming practices. Three of these projects were from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program – Building Rainforest Resilience, Tackling Woodlands Threats and the Healthy Farming Futures soil program. The five-year farmer-focused Reef Trust Repeated Tenders Program, funded by the Australian Government, also came to an end.

More work is needed, and to do this we are focused on new funding opportunities – from Australian and Queensland government programs to environmental markets like our Cassowary Credits Scheme (which is now in the testing phase) and regenerative approaches to economic development with partners across the region.

As our Terrain NRM Board Chair Barry Hunter says, regional NRM organisations are the backbone of environmental action, supporting the work of community groups and filling gaps in funding and capacity. They are essential in bringing people together across boundaries and sectors to strategically and sustainably manage landscapes.

To this end, we recently marked Terrain NRM’s 20th year by joining with Mossman Botanic Garden and Rainforest Rescue to kickstart the botanic garden project, planting 4200 native trees at an event that brought together over 200 people from across the Wet Tropics.

This year there have been a number of changes to our Terrain NRM Board. We have welcomed Barry Hunter as Chair and farewelled two long-serving board members, outgoing Chair Keith Noble and Ryan Donnelly. We also welcomed Gabrielle Davidson and last year’s Emerging Leader Kara Glenn-Worth. Daniela Matheus-Holland is our new ‘Emerging Leader’. We farewelled Peter Valentine and Peter Trott from the Board’s Standing Independent Selection Panel and these positions were taken on by Keith Noble and Ryan Donnelly. They must like us! In addition, Keith, Peter Valentine and the cane industry’s Joe Marano were awarded life memberships.

We look forward to beginning new projects in 2024. May it be another year of achievements in natural resource management across the biodiverse Wet Tropics region.

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