Planet in peril, says leading conservation expert 

Professor William Laurance

A free public lecture at Charles Darwin University next week will explore the alarming drivers of climate change and threats to tropical forests around the world.

A 2010 Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor William Laurance will deliver an urgent account of new and emerging threats to tropical ecosystems and how the new drivers of tropical forest destruction and key perils to biodiversity have changed.

“Climate change is an increasingly emerging and potentially serious driver of change in the tropics,” Professor Laurance said.
“Industrial drivers of forest conversion, such as logging, large-scale soy and cattle farming, oil-palm plantations, and oil and gas development have escalated in importance in recent decades, buoyed by rapid globalisation, economic growth, and rising standards of living in developing nations.

“In general, old-growth forests are vanishing rapidly and being replaced by fragmented, secondary, and logged forests and biofuels are likely to grow rapidly as a driver of future forest destruction.

“And some fauna, such as amphibians, are being decimated by emerging pathogens.” 

Professor Laurance said that these various environmental insults often operated in concert, magnifying their impacts and posing an even greater threat to tropical forests and their biodiversity.

William Laurance is Professor at the School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns. A Distinguished Research Professor and Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation, William Laurance is a leading conservation biologist who has worked internationally on high-profile threats to tropical forests in the Amazon, Central America, Africa, and Australasia.
The lecture entitled “Paradise in peril: Emerging threats to tropical forests” will be held on Friday, August 13 from 12noon to 1.30pm at CDU, Casuarina campus in the Mal Nairn Auditorium.

The event is free, but registration is required for catering purposes. To register visit

The CDU public lecture series provides a platform for leading academics and experts to apply their knowledge to today’s critical issues.