Tasmanian Wilderness

Country
Australia
Inscribed in
1989
Criteria
(iii)
(iv)
(vi)
(vii)
(viii)
(ix)
(x)
The conservation outlook for this site has been assessed as "good with some concerns" in the latest assessment cycle. Explore the Conservation Outlook Assessment for the site below. You have the option to access the summary, or the detailed assessment.
In a region that has been subjected to severe glaciation, these parks and reserves, with their steep gorges, covering an area of over 1 million ha, constitute one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world. Remains found in limestone caves attest to the human occupation of the area for more than 20,000 years. © UNESCO
© IUCN/Tilman Jaeger

Summary

2020 Conservation Outlook

Finalised on
02 Dec 2020
Good with some concerns
There have been competing land and resource interests at all times along the boundaries of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage site since inscription. Such competing interests have accompanied the various extensions in 1989 and more recently in 2010, 2012 and 2013. However, it is important to recall that the World Heritage Committee approved all these extensions brought forward by the State Party. These additional areas have consolidated the Outstanding Universal Value of the site. Even though the World Heritage site is in a privileged position due to its vast scale, active management, very limited access and harsh environmental conditions, it faces ongoing current and future threats. These include adequate and reliable resourcing, including for monitoring, commercial tourism interests and biosecurity risks and threats in the broadest sense. Climate change is an overarching concern and has plausibly been linked to already observable changes in fire frequency and intensity. These could pose significant threats to ancient (and other significant) life forms and landscapes that have been created, modified and managed by long term Aboriginal fire management and that form  some of the key attributes of the World Heritage site. The strong commitment expressed by the Australian and Tasmanian governments in explicitly supporting all 20 recommendations of the 2015 reactive monitoring mission (State Party of Australia, 2016 and 2019) constitutes good progress. The efforts to better understand and collaborate with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community on the management of values, as well as recognize their long and ongoing relationship to the World Heritage site and its surroundings have been picking up momentum in the public arena over the last few years. The foundation to respond to existing challenges and to understand and prepare for future challenges could thereby be considerably consolidated.  

Current state and trend of VALUES

Low Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Although the Tasmanian Wilderness is a vast and for the most part intact area which has conserved most of the specific conservation values for which it was inscribed on the World Heritage List, a number of threatening processes are causing the deterioration of some of its World Heritage values, including erosion of some landform features and resultant downstream sedimentation, as well as the risk of the extinction of the Orange- bellied Parrot population despite intensive conservation measures. Other key species facing major challenges include the Tasmanian devil, alpine vegetation (including iconic conifers such as pencil pine and king billy pine), and riverine rainforest (including prodigiously long-lived Huon pine). Landscape-scale fires caused by climate change constitute a major threat to many of the site’s ancient and other significant life forms along with landscapes created, modified and managed by Aboriginal people through the use of fire. Some landscape and wilderness values, ecological processes, and geodiversity values have also declined in parts of the site since inscription.
 

Overall THREATS

High Threat
There are a number of current and potential threats in the Tasmanian Wilderness. The main concerns relate to the direct and indirect impacts of observable and anticipated climate change, including increases in fire frequency and intensity. If the current trend of landscape-scale fires of increasing frequency and intensity continues, permanent damage to some of the site’s key attributes (ancient land forms, endemic species, alpine vegetation, landscapes containing Aboriginal cultural values) is inevitable. Biosecurity risks are well-documented for the past and present - and expected in the future - in terms of invasive alien species of both flora and fauna and less conspicuous yet at least equally problematic fungi and other pathogens. Given the number of these pathogens, pests and feral species, the introduction of avoidable biological threats such as marine pollution in Macquarie Harbour should be absolutely avoided. There is potential for loss of wilderness character and other values including Aboriginal cultural values due to the development of proposed tourism infrastructure in remote locations, if not managed carefully.

 

Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT

Mostly Effective
The management of the Tasmanian Wilderness is helped by a high degree of natural protection due to the scale, location, limited infrastructure and harsh environmental conditions. The series of extensions (formally Minor Boundary Modifications) have added a layer of protection to the World Heritage site. The threats from the sometimes sharp borders with areas subject to intensive forestry practices etc. are understood and to the degree possible addressed. Australian and Tasmanian governments must continue working towards fulfilling their recent commitment to the implementation of the 20 recommendations proposed by the most recent Reactive Monitoring mission. A Tourism Master Plan for the World Heritage site is in development. This document this was expected to provide further guidance on the policies required and opportunities for a range of tourism and related recreation experiences within the site (State Party of Australia, 2019). A draft of the document was released for public consultation in March 2020 (Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, 2020). However, the outcome of this process will need to be evaluated. It is of concern that the consultation process did not have support of key stakeholder and civil society groups (TNPA, 2019). The facilitation of development proposals for various forms of human activity and development through a closed expression of interest process prior to the implementation of the Tourism Master Plan, and the determination of appropriate forms and scales of tourism that do not impact on the undisturbed nature of the wilderness and the OUV of the site in general is of concern.   

Full assessment

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Finalised on
02 Dec 2020

Description of values

Undisturbed wilderness and spectacular landscapes

Criterion
(vii)
The World Heritage site is mostly undisturbed wilderness with spectacular landscapes ranging from previously glaciated mountains and alpine meadows to buttongrass moorlands, towering forests, untamed rivers and wild coastal scenery, the longest undisturbed stretch of temperate embayed rocky and sandy coastline in the world. The glacially eroded mountains are aesthetically distinct and outstanding, with red and gold to dark green tones in their blanket of vegetation, the dark tones of their glacial lakes (IUCN and ICOMOS, 2015; UNEP-WCMC, 2012; State Party of Australia, 2010).

The majority of the world’s tallest flowering trees forming the largest patches of awe-inspiring very tall forests

Criterion
(vii)
Awe-inspiring, towering eucalyptus forests which include the largest and most intact known patches of forest with average crown height of over 70 metres and the majority of the world’s flowering trees over 90 metres in height (DPIPWE, 2018). Additionally, the World Heritage site contains most of the last cool temperate rain forest remaining in Australia (IUCN and ICOMOS, 2015; State Party of Australia, 2010).
 

Exceptional expression, diversity and scale of karst features going back up to 400 million years

Criterion
(viii)
The property contains an exceptional expression, extensive scale and very high diversity of ongoing and undisturbed karst processes, including palaeokarst development going back up to 400 million years, hydrothermal karstification and evidence of past glacio-karstic interactions (Jaeger et al., 2015; UNEP-WCMC, 2012; State Party of Australia, 2010).

Exceptionally broad range of geomorphological phenomena and processes

Criterion
(viii)
The area contains rocks from almost every geological period from the Neoproterozoic onwards and geomorphological features from past glacial events including one of the best available global records of temperate glacial processes during the Late Cainozoic Ice Age. This exceptionally broad range of ongoing geomorphological and soil processes continue to operate in a largely unmodified fashion (State Party of Australia, 2010). Exceptional range of glacial landforms with characteristics imparted by substrates otherwise absent from southern temperate latitudes provides a record of Quaternary glacial events that is uncluttered by the tectonic instability that occurs in New Zealand and Patagonian Andes and has allowed exceptionally old late Cainozoic glacial phenomena to survive.

Ongoing ecological processes with high degree of naturalness at a large-scale

Criterion
(ix)
The wide variety of largely undisturbed ecosystems conserved in the property provides for the continuance of longstanding ecological processes. These processes have, in combination with the geographic isolation, resulted in an unusually high degree of floral and faunal endemism. The property is also
renowned internationally for the extreme longevity of some of its flora, the oldest of which has been dated as at least 43,000 years old (UNEP-WCMC, 2012; State Party of Australia, 2010).

Unique diversity of ancient taxa

Criterion
(ix)
A unique diversity of ancient taxa, particularly relict groups with ancestry dating back to the super continent of Gondwana (State Party of Australia, 2010).

High plant biodiversity with exceptional proportion of relict and endemic species

Criterion
(x)
Exceptional relict and endemic plant species include several endemic conifers, such as the King Billy Pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides), Huon Pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) and Diselma, Microcachrys, Microstrobos spp.; members of the Cunoniaceae, Escalloniaceae and Winteraceae; Bellendena, Agastachys and Cenarrhenes spp. (all Proteaceae); and other plant genera with Gondwanan links (e.g. Eucryphia, Orites, Lomatia and Nothofagus). The King’s Holly (Lomatia tasmanica) appears to have been in existence as a sterile triploid clone for at least 43,000 years, making it one of the oldest documented vascular plant clones in the world (Parks and Wildlife Service, 2004). The property also conserves many other threatened and endemic plant species as well as unique ecosystems, including the tall eucalypt forest and sphagnum bogs and fens. The largest extent of endemic Mt Mawson Pine has been included with 2013 extension to include Mt Field National Park (UNEP-WCMC, 2012; State Party of Australia, 2013, 2010 and 1982).

Relict and endemic mammals

Criterion
(x)
Endemic mammals include the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii); Eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) and long-tailed mouse (Pseudomys higginsi). Examples of relict mammals include the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) and spotted-tail quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) (UNEP-WCMC, 2012; State Party of Australia, 2010 and 1982).

Rare, relict and endemic birds

Criterion
(x)
11 of the 135 native bird species recorded in the World Heritage site are endemic to Tasmania (Driessen and Mallick, 2003). The Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax fleayi - Australia’s biggest bird of prey) is an endangered subspecies endemic to the island (UNEP-WCMC, 2012; State Party of Australia, 2010 and 1982). Other bird species include the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster), which only breeds within the World Heritage site, and the ground parrot (Pezoporus wallicus leachii, LC).

Relict and endemic frogs

Criterion
(x)
Of the seven native frog species known to occur in the property, three are endemic to Tasmania. The endemic Tasmanian froglet (Crinia tasmaniensis), moss froglet (Crinia nimba), and Tasmanian tree frog (Litoria burrowsae) are believed to have Gondwanan origins (State Party of Australia, 2010 and 1982, UNEP-WCMC, 2012). The moss froglet (Crinia nimba) is an endemic frog discovered after inscription in 1992 and restricted to the southern part of the property (Hero et al., 2004). Most of the distributional range of the Tasmanian tree frog occurs within the World Heritage site.
 

Endemic and threatened reptiles

Criterion
(x)
Of the 14 native reptiles species occurring in the property, seven are endemic skinks including the mountain skink (Carinascincus orocryptus), Northern snow skink (Carinascincus greeni), Southern snow skink (Carinascincus microlepidotus) and the Pedra Branca skink (Carinascincus palfreymani, which is restricted to Pedra Branca Island which belongs to the property) (State Party of Australia, 2010 and 1982; Driessen and Mallick 2003). These species occur either entirely or primarily within the World Heritage site.
 

Endemic and threatened freshwater fish

Criterion
(x)
There are 16 recorded species of native freshwater fish within the property, including four endemic species. The Swamp Galaxias (Galaxias parvus), Pedder Galaxias (Galaxias pedderensis) and the Western Paragalaxias (Paragalaxias julianus) are restricted to the property and the distribution of the Clarence Galaxias (Galaxias johnstoni) is primarily restricted to the property. The Pedder Galaxias was translocated from Lake Pedder to Lake Oberon within the property and is no longer believed to survive in Lake Pedder (Driessen and Mallick, 2003).

Enormous diversity of relict and endemic groups of invertebrates

Criterion
(x)
Enormous diversity of relict and endemic invertebrates, including for example numerous velvet worms (Euperipatoides and Ooperipatellus spp.); harvestman (within the families Triaenonychidae and Neopilionidae, pseudoscorpions (Pseudotyrannochthoniidae) and the spider families Austrochilidae, Migidae and Orsolobidae, including the Tasmanian Cave Spider (Hickmania troglodytes); aquatic insect groups with close affinities to groups found in South America, New Zealand and Southern Africa (e.g. dragonflies, chironomid midges, stoneflies, mayflies and caddisflies); crustaceans (e.g. Anaspidacea, Parastacidae, Phreatoicidae); primitive taxa showing links to fauna more ancient than Gondwana (e.g. Anaspidesidae, Trogloneta (a mysmenid spider); species in the genus Sabatinca of the primitive lepidopteran sub-order Zeugloptera) (DPIPWE, 2016, State Party of Australia, 2010; Giribet et al. 2016). Of the more diverse and better studied invertebrate groups, a number exhibit levels of Tasmanian endemicity in excess of 65%, many of which are entirely restricted to the property (Mallick and Driessen, 2005).

Tracts of undisturbed peatlands and moorlands

Criterion
(ix)
The buttongrass moorlands of Tasmania are the best expression of a vegetation type with no close analogue outside Australia (Balmer et al., 2004). The creation of a significant number of these moorlands is linked to long term Aboriginal fire management regimes over thousands of years. The accumulation of peatlands and development of blanket bogs is a complex interaction between climatic, geomorphic and floristic variables (Sharples, 2003). The process of fire regimes shaping vegetation patterns is exemplified in buttongrass moorlands which provide habitat for a unique array of bird and invertebrate fauna; they are an integral part to the unique beauty of the Tasmanian Wilderness (Balmer et al., 2004). The large number (and diversity) of burrowing crayfish and their burrows filled with highly acidic waters is globally unique.
 

Wild temperate coastline

Criterion
(vii)
The property contains the longest undisturbed stretch of temperate embayed rocky and sandy coastline in the world, with spectacular headlands, beaches, lagoons, islets and cliffs and a rugged windswept archipelago (State Party of Australia, 2010; Sharples, 2003).
Mixed World Heritage site featuring high and interlinked cultural and natural values
The Tasmanian Wilderness is a mixed World Heritage site inscribed in recognition of its past and ongoing cultural and spiritual importance which are intricately linked to the natural environment. The site is also a cultural landscape, with the distribution of ecosystems reflecting millennia of engagement with the landscape by Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

Assessment information

High Threat
There are a number of current high threats. Since 2000, ‘landscape-scale’ bushfires have affected at least 12% of the World Heritage site, causing significant damage to some high-altitude areas. In addition, there is a wide range of other threats operating at either very localised levels or on very specific attributes (e.g. pollution from aquaculture, species-specific pathogens). The cumulative total of these separate influences is, however, significant, particularly during a period of globally ubiquitous climate change. The size and integrity of the World Heritage site, as well as the remoteness of vast parts of it, may well be the strongest factor in terms of resilience. However, this remoteness has the potential to be affected if proposed tourism developments and infrastructure are not appropriately considered and assessed. A Tourism Master Plan for the World Heritage site is in preparation and has been released for public comment in March 2020. This document is intended to provide guidance, context and policy direction for tourism and recreation in the World Heritage site. Overall, it is encouraging that many such threats are well understood and that there are coherent and strong management responses. As the consequences of many of the threats could be devastating, threat monitoring and preparedness for future scenarios are indispensable.
Other Ecosystem Modifications
(Loss of sphagnum bogs)
High Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
In 2009, Highland Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens were listed as an endangered ecological community nationally. All sphagnum harvesting on public lands in Tasmania is now prohibited (State Party of Australia, 2012). However, areas of the community have been destroyed or damaged by fires in the last decade, and the impacts of climate change are predicted to be greatest on the Central Plateau where most of the community occurs (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Other
(Amphibian Chytrid Fungal Disease)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
The Chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) has dramatically affected amphibians across the world. There are four species in Tasmania at some risk of extinction from this cause (Skerratt et al. 2016). The World Heritage site is still largely disease-free with no spreading of the fungus having been detected since 2010, although more monitoring is needed. Spreading of Chytrid is known to be associated with human disturbance and the fungus is mainly moved by people (Allan et al., 2009; Parks and Wildlife Service, 2012). Management plans to stop the fungus from affecting frogs in the site are in place, but there is prospective increasing movement of people in helicopters and by foot in remote parts of the site. On the other hand, chytrid research within the World Heritage site has shown that where chytrid is present the concentration of zoospores is very low suggesting that some characteristics of the site, such as low pH, may be restricting the impact of this disease on frogs in the World Heritage site (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Other
(Psittacine Circoviral Disease)
High Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
Besides many other factors, especially on the migration route and its wintering habitat on the Australian mainland, the Critically Endangered Captive breeding populations of the Orange-Bellied Parrot have been threatened by the Psittacine circoviral disease (Parks and Wildlife Service, 2004; HVEC 2009; State Party of Australia, 2008). A new clean aviary facility with double the capacity of the old has been built for the 2019-2020 breeding season and running costs for parrot conservation budgeted (Australian Government, 2019).
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(Plant pathogens)
High Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Outside site
Plant diseases and dieback, especially the root rot disease Phytophthora cinnamomi pose major threats. Previously restricted to hiking trails, increasing road access due to logging and mining operations in the proximity to the World Heritage site open up ever more pathways to this fungus and numerous other organisms into wilderness areas (IUCN and ICOMOS, 2015; HVEC, 2007; 2009; SWST, 2008; Hitchcock, 2008; Law, 2009). In 2010 a significant new infestation was detected on the Loddon Plains and trial stream monitoring was conducted on the boundary for Phytophthora species. A Tasmanian Phytophthora cinnamomi management plan is in place to mitigate the risk of further spread and management of the pathogen, however, available resources might be insufficient (State Party of Australia, 2015). In 2018, Phytophthora cinnamomi infections were reported affecting alpine communities on Mt Read at over 1000m altitude. Although outside of the World Heritage site, this is a significant increase in altitudinal limit for this pathogen (potentially linked to climate change), which increases the risk posed in the World Heritage site (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
 
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(Alien invasive plants)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
A volunteer led and government supported campaign to control species threatening coastal geomorphological and ecological processes (marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) and sea spurge (Euphorbia paralius)) (State Party of Australia, 2010, 2012) has succeeded to the degree that it requires only annual removal of sporadic invaders, but the species could take off again without this maintenance. Inland weed species such as blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) are mostly a problem in areas of mechanical or natural disturbance such as roadsides and river banks and are highly sporadic in their occurrence (Parks and Wildlife Service, 1999). Exotics reported as spreading include gorse (Ulex europaeus), ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), broom (Cytisus scoparius), Canadian pond weed (Elodea canadensis) and holly (Ilex spp.) (Parks and Wildlife Service, 2004; Hitchcock, 2008). The level of impact of environmental weeds in the World Heritage site has been increased by the 2013 extension which incorporated some established weed issues into the site (Balmer et al., 2017).
 
Fire/ Fire Suppression
(Fire and fire regimes)
High Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Outside site
Bushfires, especially ‘landscape-scale fires’ (i.e. fires that are not stopped by natural fire boundaries such as wet forest or major rivers) and peat fires are a great threat. While fire is a key component of the natural ecology of the World Heritage site, recent evidence indicates that fire regimes are shifting (PWS, 2015). Lightning strikes now dominate (over 99% of area burnt) as a source of ignition of major bushfires within the World Heritage site. Concurrently, the occurrence of extremely dry and hot summers promotes the occurrence of large, intense fires that pose a severe threat to the site’s ancient life forms, most of which have limited capacity to regenerate after fire (PWS, 2015). In response to the 2016 bushfires, the TWWHA Bushfire and Climate Change Research Project was launched. The project concluded that the site's values that are most threatened by an increase in fire frequency are fire-sensitive palaeoendemic species, alpine and rainforest ecosystems and organic soils and landforms (Press (Ed.), 2016). In the summer of 2018/2019 lightning ignited fires  burned 6% of the World Heritage site, of which 12.3% consisted of fire-sensitive vegetation, recognized as part of the Outstanding Universal Value of the site (State Party of Australia, 2019), much of which is unlikely to return to the burned sites in centuries, if at all. There was also a loss of some globally rare peat mounds (State Party of Australia, 2019). A number of activities have been initiated as a response to the threat posed by fires, including a preparation of a Fire Management Plan for the World Heritage site (State Party of Australia, 2019) and Model of Fire Cover to inform response strategies. The recommendation of Press (2016) for a national uplift in remote fire-fighting forces and equipment was not taken up by government, however the Tasmanian government has now committed to developing remote area winch capable fire-fighting crews.
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(Alien invasive animals)
High Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Outside site
Invasive alien animal species in many taxonomic groups are a significant and permanent threat to several conservation values of the World Heritage site. The current management plan mentions 25 vertebrate and 45 invertebrate invasive alien species; however only some vertebrate and invertebrate species are widespread in the TWWHA: brown trout (Salmo trutta), common starling (Sturna vulgaris), superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae), European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), feral cat (Felis catus), sugar glider (Petaurus berviceps), European wasp (Vespula germanica), honeybee (Apis mellifera), hedgehog slug (Arion intermedis) and the large earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). Some of these species compete with natives for nesting sites, others alter native vegetation and a few predate threatened species. Efforts have been made to eradicate populations of larger mammals such as feral goats (Parks and Wildlife Service, 2004).
 
Other
(Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease)
High Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
The outbreak of the lethal Devil Facial Tumour Disease in Tasmanian Devils has resulted in a population decline of over 75% in some parts of Tasmania. Difficulties in access has limited systematic monitoring for disease in the World Heritage site. There is evidence to suggest that devils occur widely within the World Heritage site and much of it remains free of the disease (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Tourism/ visitors/ recreation
(Increasing tourism)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Tourism development, recreation and visitor activities and associated infrastructure, including increasing mechanised access to remote areas and built private commercial accommodation developments, increasing use of boats and aircraft flights to access remote areas; and cruise ships, boating and diving activities in the Port Davey, Bathurst Harbour region, have been noted as threats (Parks and Wildlife Service, 2004; Birdlife Tasmania et al., 2017). Importantly, these activities and the associated infrastructure also pose a threat to Aboriginal cultural values in the landscape.
The 1999 TWHHA Management Plan was conservation focused and limiting of commercial developments and activities in the TWHHA. The 2016 Management Plan broadened its approach to include socio-economic considerations and permit recreational, tourism and related activities, pursuant to a Tourism Master Plan (TMP).
Tourism/ Recreation Areas
(Tourism infrastructure and recreation areas)
High Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
strong community concern about the impacts of increasing ad hoc development of tourism infrastructure and associated mechanised access on the wilderness character of the World Heritage site (Birdlife Tasmania et al, 2017; Wilderness Society, 2019). This concern largely relates to the many proposals for infrastructure well within wild country, rather than in Visitor Service Zones on the margin of the World Heritage site, although there are also concerns about the 2016 rezoning of the World Heritage site to enlarge recreation and visitor service zones (Gogarty et al. 2018a). Additionally, a proposal for cable car access to Dove Lake and the construction of a viewing shelter in this location have generated criticism.  The use of helicopters for tourist access to accommodation in the wilderness has been particularly strongly resisted (Gogarty et al. 2018b). The planning, assessment and approval processes need to need to assess temporal and spatial cumulative impacts, better involve community stakeholders and be more cognizant of the OUV of the site. A Tourism Master Plan for the World Heritage site was committed to in the 2016 TWWHA Management Plan. This document this will provide further guidance on the policies required and opportunities for a range of tourism and related recreation experiences within the site (State Party of Australia, 2019). A draft of the document was released for public consultation in March 2020 (Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, 2020). A final Tourism Masterplan has now been completed following extensive public consultation (IUCN Consultation, 2020). The Tasmanian government established an expression of interest (EOI) process in 2014 which has resulted in at least 25 tourism proposals being progressed through internal review (TAO, 2019; Gogarty et al. 2018b).
Logging/ Wood Harvesting
(Commercial logging)
Very Low Threat
Outside site
Through the adoption in 2016 of the statutory management plan for the World Heritage site, both levels of government committed to the entire World Heritage site being off limits to commercial logging, with the exception of the harvesting of a few plantations, which will be followed by restoration (Australian Government, 2019). 
Erosion and Siltation/ Deposition
(Erosion)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Extensive erosion on the Central Plateau due to historic land use practices, bank erosion on the middle Gordon River due to regulation for electricity generation and several western rivers due to wave-wake from boats, and coastal erosion on south-west beaches due to climate-related sea level rise, threaten geodiversity values and dependent natural and cultural values. Studies have been undertaken to assess erosion risk and to devise mitigation options (e.g. Storey and Comfort 2007; Eberhard et al., 2015, Bradbury, 2019). Revegetation of bare ground induced by grazing and burning on the Central Plateau occurred after the removal of stock, but has ceased in recent decades (Kirkpatrick and Bridle, 2013), while bushfires in 2019 has exacerbated erosion risk.
Water Pollution
(Pollution from release of effluent from adjacent fish farms)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
Fish farms (Atlantic salmon) in Macquarie Harbour have generated effluent that has entered the marine waters of the World Heritage site and de-oxygenated benthic waters, potentially further threatening the endangered Maugean skate (Kirkpatrick et al., 2019). The Tasmanian Government has reported that "there is evidence of deterioration in the environmental condition in Macquarie Harbour broadly, and also within the TWWHA region’ and identified finfish aquaculture as one of the drivers of environmental decline" (EPA, 2017). Allowable fish farm production has been more than halved and monitoring is underway (State Party of Australia, 2019). However, the future of the Maugean skate in Macquarie Harbour is still uncertain due to very low dissolved oxygen levels, which may have significant impacts on this species (State Party of Australia, 2019).
High Threat
Potential threats include the geomorphological and ecological consequences of anthropogenic climate change, uncontrolled bushfires at a landscape scale, new invasions of alien species and pathogens, and loss of wilderness character due to proposed tourism developments in remote locations. In essence, the potential threats boil down to a possible intensification of existing threats. The modelled impacts of climate change (more frequent and intense bushfires at the hottest time of the year) present a serious threat to many of the site’s most charismatic attributes, such as ancient pines, alpine vegetation, riverine rainforest, buttongrass plains (many of which were created and managed by long term Aboriginal fire regimes) and extensive peatlands. Proposed new infrastructure and mechanised access in highly scenic parts of the World Heritage site may have serious impacts on the aesthetics of the World Heritage site, particularly the sense of seclusion that visitors on foot can currently experience, if not managed carefully.
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration, Droughts, Temperature extremes
(Climate change)
Very High Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Outside site
Anthropogenic climate change may already be responsible for a broad range of changes and increasing vulnerability (PWS, 2016). Many view the major bushfires which raged through Tasmania in early 2016 and  2018/2019 as indicators of change. Fires lead to increased soil and regolith erosion, which in turn affects sediment transportation along watercourses. In addition to coastal erosion, climate change is likely to include temperature rise, sea level rise, extreme weather events and flash flooding which are anticipated to affect rates and magnitudes of further change, including fluvial systems, alpine landforms, karst and in the extensive blanket bogs supporting buttongrass ecosystems. In montane and subalpine areas, a change in fire regimes may reduce the range of fire-sensitive palaeoendemic trees - including Huon Pine, Pencil Pine and King Billy Pine and is likely to cause a significant decline in the populations of alpine fire-sensitive palaeoendemic species, such as Pherosphaera hookeriana, Diselma archeri and deciduous beech. Changes in fire frequency and intensity have also resulted in  extensive erosion and peat loss, with a particular concern in the Central Plateau and parts of Southwestern Tasmania, for example in the Davey River area. A warming and drying climate is also likely to reduce the probability of eucalypts being able to attain giant tree/very tall forest status in future (DPIPWE 2018). Similarly, predicted changes in precipitation patterns and temperature are likely to badly affect the biota of the shallow alpine lakes of the Central Plateau (Davies and Driessen, 2018). While snow incidence on taller mountains has not changed, snow has been decreasing at lower elevations (Kirkpatrick et al. 2017). A programme for monitoring the impacts of climate change on the World Heritage site and incorporate this programme into a risk-reduction strategy and action plan has been implemented (State Party of Australia, 2010). The current management plan fully recognizes the challenge (DPIPWE, 2016).
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(European Fox)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
The European or Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) was introduced to Tasmania in 2001. Since then a targeted campaign to eradicate this potentially disastrous invasive predator from the island has been undertaken (Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, 2017). The campaign has been largely successful in preventing the species from spreading and there is little evidence of the species existing in Tasmania (IUCN Consultation, 2017). However, the species continues to pose a potential risk (IUCN and ICOMOS, 2015).
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(Myrtle rust)
Very Low Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
Myrtle rust, an introduced disease affecting Myrtaceae (which includes Eucalypts) was discovered on mainland Australia in 2010 and has since occurred in several outbreaks in Tasmania. While the World Heritage site does not fall within the current modelled climatically suitable areas for its establishment in Tasmania and the current incursion appears to be a host specific species, steps to mitigate the risk of myrtle rust permanently establishing in Tasmania are being undertaken. The recent arrival of the disease in Australia and Tasmania is a reminder of the constant risk of new biosecurity threats (State Party of Australia, 2012).
There are a number of current and potential threats in the Tasmanian Wilderness. The main concerns relate to the direct and indirect impacts of observable and anticipated climate change, including increases in fire frequency and intensity. If the current trend of landscape-scale fires of increasing frequency and intensity continues, permanent damage to some of the site’s key attributes (ancient land forms, endemic species, alpine vegetation, landscapes containing Aboriginal cultural values) is inevitable. Biosecurity risks are well-documented for the past and present - and expected in the future - in terms of invasive alien species of both flora and fauna and less conspicuous yet at least equally problematic fungi and other pathogens. Given the number of these pathogens, pests and feral species, the introduction of avoidable biological threats such as marine pollution in Macquarie Harbour should be absolutely avoided. There is potential for loss of wilderness character and other values including Aboriginal cultural values due to the development of proposed tourism infrastructure in remote locations, if not managed carefully.

 
Management system
Mostly Effective
A statutory management plan identifies values, objectives, desired outcomes and threats, providing the overarching guidance for the World Heritage site even though the plans cannot legally be applied to the entire site. While the 1999 Management Plan was supposed to be revised in 2009, it was eventually updated in 2016. The 2016 Management Plan applies to 97% of the World Heritage site. A Strategic Management Statement documents management arrangements for the remaining area (DPIPWE, 2016). Additionally, there are non-statutory plans, for example, applying to historic heritage and fire management; permit systems; annual work and business plans; codes of practice; Memoranda of Understanding (IUCN, 2014). A Tourism Master Plan has been in the process of development  (Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania, 2019). The management of almost all of the World Heritage site is the executive responsibility of the Secretary of DPIPWE as the Director of Parks and Wildlife. The Secretary of DPIPWE reports to a Tasmanian Government Minister. Both the State and Federal ministers responsible for the site are advised by the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Committee of Tasmania. This statutory committee has Indigenous people, stakeholders and experts in values and their presentation. It is appointed largely by the State Government, with input from the Australian Government.
Management effectiveness
Mostly Effective
There are differing views on many specific aspects of site management; however, there are no indication of substantial deficits in park management. The Parks and Wildlife Service has developed evaluation and reporting system to support adaptive management. The actions in the plan guide evaluations and internal funding decisions. Management has been effective in maintaining the values of the site, except where threats to values are uncontrollable at the management level and cannot readily be mitigated (e.g. sea level rise and some other consequences of climate change). Innovations in management of the fire threat are particularly notable (State Party of Australia, 2019).
Boundaries
Mostly Effective
The boundaries of this mixed World Heritage site have been repeatedly expanded by a series of "Minor Boundary Modifications" (according to World Heritage terminology) in 1989, 2010, 2012 and 2013. The latter alone added 172,500 hectares to the site, thereby contributing to its integrity, as well as the representation of its OUV (IUCN, 2013). There is no formal buffer zone recognised. However, there is a high degree of co-operation between the Tasmanian Fire Service, the managers of forestry land and PWS in planning and implementing fire management (IUCN Consultation, 2020a).
Integration into regional and national planning systems
Some Concern
PWS has acted to integrate its activities in the World Heritage site with those of adjoining landowners. The current Management Plan acknowledges that there are sharp borders between the World Heritage site and private land, the length of which has significantly increased due to the 2013 Minor Boundary Modification. According to the most recent Reactive Monitoring Mission report, related problems include easy access, fire, biosecurity and crop damage from wildlife. The same source otherwise suggests the direct borders between the World Heritage site and Permanent Timber Production Zone Land (PTPZL) are problematic due to the use of chemicals in managed forests and plantations, hybridization risks and colonization by non-native plantation species (Jaeger et al., 2015). In June 2015, the Australian Government provided AUD $680,000 to the Tasmanian Government to implement a project to address high risk biosecurity issues of immediate concern to landholders adjoining the 2013 extension, including implementation of the 2016 Good Neighbour Charter (Good Neighbour Charter, https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/about-the-department/good-neighbour-charter). 
Relationships with local people
Serious Concern
The last IUCN World Heritage Outlook assessment noted: 'There have been directly opposing and frequently polarized views about the World Heritage site at all times (IUCN and ICOMOS, 2015). According to Mooney (2012) “sudden restrictions on timber harvesting, cattle grazing and mining extraction (…) caused much local community concern”. At the same time, the formal conservation status and subsequent World Heritage inscription are celebrated conservation success stories well beyond Tasmania. The role of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community adds further complexity. More recently, the commitment to the technical recommendations of a 2015 Reactive Monitoring mission on the part of both the Australian and the Tasmanian governments, including in terms of stronger involvement of local communities and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community could mark a new beginning.'
Co-management with Indigenous people is a goal of the management plan for the World Heritage site. Although substantial progress has been made in identifying Indigenous values and heritage (Australian Government, 2019), progress towards developing any form of co-management has been slow. 
By 2020, the major stakeholders in the World Heritage site had been clearly identified by the PWS and many of them had become closely involved in the management of the site. PWS has made an enormous effort to communicate and co-operate with its neighbours (see above). These relationships clearly help maintain the values of the World Heritage site (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
The major conflicts between stakeholders relate to tourism development. The aim of the draft Tourism Master Plan was stated to 'balance development with conservation', which other stakeholders think has already been done by having  protected areas in a matrix of development. The proposed developments involving helicopter access are the most passionately resisted, as most affecting the wilderness aesthetic, a core elements of the Outstanding Universal Value of the site (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).  
 
 
Legal framework
Some Concern
The legal framework is complex due to the overlapping Australian, State and local government jurisdictions,  diverse land tenure, large land area, and complex ecological and cultural values. In addition some of the land tenures  exclude the legal applicability of the TWWHA Management Plan (Jaeger et al., 2015). The Management Plan (TWWHA MP) does, however, apply to over 97% of the World Heritage site (DPIPWE, 2016). The Australian Government has the main constitutional power to implement international legal obligations, including the World Heritage Convention. The Australian government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) applies to all Australian World Heritage sites and requires any proposals which could threaten the OUV of the site to be subject to statutory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The EPBC Act is presently under a 10 year review by an independent national panel. The 1999 TWWHA MP set out a statutory "New Proposals and Impact Assessment Process" for proposed developments.  This was removed in the 2016 TWWHA MP, which now specifies a non-statutory environmental impact assessment process.  The statutory criteria in the 2016 TWWHA MP are used in the EIA process, however the Parks and Wildlife Service EIA (Reserve Activity Assessment) process itself is not statutory.
The Tasmanian Government has introduced the Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Major Projects) Act 2020, which provides for a statutory EIA process for assessing and approving large complex proposals, however this does not fetter the discretion of the Director of Parks and Wildlife or the need for assessment under the existing PWS EIA (RAA) processes (IUCN Consultation, 2020c).   
The legal and jurisdictional complexity of managing the TWWHA frequently generates (at times politicized) debate about the applicable legal framework.
Recommendation 11 by the 2015 Reactive Monitoring Mission (RMM) that some 35,000 ha of the World Heritage site currently classed as Future Potential Production Forest Land be converted to national park (IUCN, 2015) has not yet been completed, although a reservation process for these areas is underway (State Party of Australia, 2019).
 
Enforcement
Mostly Effective
Vast areas are not easily accessible which limits their vulnerability to illegal activities. However, that same remoteness makes it very difficult to enforce some regulations, e.g. vessel speed limits to mitigate river bank erosion by wave wake (IUCN Consultation, 2020a). Where vulnerability exists, as on parts of the Eastern Central Plateau, laws are effectively enforced by rangers, police or fisheries officers. Track rangers are used to patrol the more popular remote country (IUCN Consultation, 2020b). Those visiting the World Heritage site tend overwhelmingly to be law-abiding. However, in the most recent (2016/2017) independent audit of parks management Tasmanian Audit Office into parks management (including the management of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage site) the  Auditor-General noted "a lack of attention to the risk of vandalism in many of the Park Management plans and the framework and a lack of strategies to address the risk"  (TAO, 2016).
Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations
Mostly Effective
The minor boundary modification of 2013 was a very comprehensive response to decisions by the Committee between 1995 and 2012 (CONF 201 VI.20, CONF 202 IV.7, CONF 201 V.B.37, 23BURIV.B.48, 30 COM 7B.32, 31 COM 7B.43, 32 COM 7B.41, 34COM7B.38, 36 COM 7B.36). In 2016, the Australian and Tasmanian governments committed themselves to 20 far-reaching recommendations articulated by the 2015 Reactive Monitoring mission, which were endorsed by the World Heritage Committee (World Heritage Committee, 2016). The 2019 State Party Report provides an update on progress to implement World Heritage Committee Decisions and mission recommendations (State Party of Australia, 2019).
Sustainable use
Mostly Effective
Primary production is highly restricted within the 97% of the World Heritage site subject to the 2016 Management Plan. Logging and mining are excluded because they conflict with the conservation of the site's values. Bee keeping is allowed after research indicated that it did not affect native invertebrates. Hydro-electric power production systems and commercial fishing are allowed in some parts of the World Heritage site where they occurred before inscription. Hydroelectricity generation has altered the flow regime of the Gordon River and caused changes to aquatic and riverine systems downstream, including the loss of meromixis in lakes adjacent to the lower Gordon River (IUCN Consultation, 2020b). Primary production adjacent to the World Heritage site has had some impacts on it, most notably recently with fish farming in Macquarie Harbour.
Sustainable finance
Highly Effective
The World Heritage site benefits from federal and state funding. It is clear that reliable and adequate funding will be needed at all times to manage the vast World Heritage site. The Australian Government has provided baseline funding of AUD $3.4 million per annum since 2005 and this has been at least matched by the Tasmanian Government. The baseline funding was increased by a further $1.7 million per annum in 2013 following the addition of land associated with the extension of the World Heritage site. Again this funding has been at least matched by the Tasmanian Government since that time.  In 2015 the Australian Government provided an additional AUD $10.2 million to support the Tasmanian Government’s management of the site, recognising the additional responsibilities to manage the World Heritage values of the areas added to the site in 2013 (State Party of Australia, 2016). A five-year agreement is in place between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments to provide AUD $5.1 each for the management of the site in the period 2018-2023. Additional funding has also been committed by the Tasmanian Government for specific activities, such as developing a better understanding of fire and supporting the recovery of the orange-bellied parrot (State Party of Australia, 2019).
Staff training and development
Some Concern
The current management plan acknowledges insufficient past consideration of the cultural dimension of the mixed World Heritage site, reflected also in human resources development and training. Improvements in cultural training have occurred since the 2016 commitment of the State Party (State Party of Australia, 2016 and 2019). In general, the levels of staffing, training and equipment provision in the World Heritage site are among the best in Australia. The Tasmanian government has recently announced a two year funding commitment to develop winch capable firefighting crews and equipment for remote area firefighting (IUCN Consultation, 2020c), as most fires in the twenty-first century are caused by lightning storms, which involve multiple ignitions in remote places, and many of the values of the site are threatened by fire (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
Education and interpretation programs
Mostly Effective
The current management plan states the commitment to "revitalising approaches to the interpretation and presentation of cultural heritage".
The ‘Interpretation and Presentation of the Aboriginal cultural values of the TWWHA Project’, managed by Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania, will provide an important contribution to the interpretation and presentation of Aboriginal cultural values in the World Heritage site (IUCN Consultation, 2020a).
While there appears to be no direct assessment of the effectiveness of interpretation and communication, the web presence of the World Heritage site allows access to a wide variety of information, clearly and attractively presented.
Tourism and visitation management
Some Concern
Tourism and interpretation are explicitly desired activities and indeed management objectives (DPIPWE, 2016). The challenge is that the various actors have differing view on the limits of acceptable change, for example as regards access and infrastructure (Jaeger et al., 2015). The debate is directly linked to the wilderness character of large parts of the World Heritage site and how those should be managed. The management plan is an obvious instrument to strike a balance between differing interests. At the time of the most recent Reactive Monitoring mission, major concerns centered around the allegedly less than clear relationship between ongoing consultations to inform the revised management plan and parallel tourism-related initiatives targeting the World Heritage site. This tension has not dissipated in the intervening years. A Tourism Master Plan for the World Heritage site is in development. This document would provide further guidance on the policies required and opportunities for a range of tourism and related recreation experiences within the site (State Party of Australia, 2019). A draft of the document was released for public consultation in March 2020 (Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, 2020). However, submission of development proposals has already been happening since 2014 without any stated or binding policy on the appropriate thresholds, locations or number of developments that can be permitted without interfering with and undermining the untouched wilderness character of the World Heritage site (Gogarty et al., 2018a).  
Monitoring
Mostly Effective
The management plan articulates a monitoring and evaluation framework to support adaptive management of the World Heritage site, committing to producing regular State of the TWWHA Reports and ensuring evaluation of management effectiveness.
 
Research
Some Concern
A wealth of high-quality research across a wide range of natural values has been conducted for decades, often strongly linked to the management of the World Heritage site. Concerns remain regarding the extent and depth of research on culture, and in particular Aboriginal cultural values, the format and nature of research on sensitive cultural heritage and the lack of integrating cultural and natural aspects in research (IUCN and ICOMOS, 2015). Recently, a synthesis report on archaeological research in the World Heritage site has been completed, a detailed plan for the comprehensive cultural assessment of the World Heritage site has been prepared and an assessment of the Aboriginal cultural values of the 2013 extension has been undertaken (https://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/publications/cultural-assessment-twwha).
 
The management of the Tasmanian Wilderness is helped by a high degree of natural protection due to the scale, location, limited infrastructure and harsh environmental conditions. The series of extensions (formally Minor Boundary Modifications) have added a layer of protection to the World Heritage site. The threats from the sometimes sharp borders with areas subject to intensive forestry practices etc. are understood and to the degree possible addressed. Australian and Tasmanian governments must continue working towards fulfilling their recent commitment to the implementation of the 20 recommendations proposed by the most recent Reactive Monitoring mission. A Tourism Master Plan for the World Heritage site is in development. This document this was expected to provide further guidance on the policies required and opportunities for a range of tourism and related recreation experiences within the site (State Party of Australia, 2019). A draft of the document was released for public consultation in March 2020 (Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, 2020). However, the outcome of this process will need to be evaluated. It is of concern that the consultation process did not have support of key stakeholder and civil society groups (TNPA, 2019). The facilitation of development proposals for various forms of human activity and development through a closed expression of interest process prior to the implementation of the Tourism Master Plan, and the determination of appropriate forms and scales of tourism that do not impact on the undisturbed nature of the wilderness and the OUV of the site in general is of concern.   
Assessment of the effectiveness of protection and management in addressing threats outside the site
Some Concern
The long and sharp borders between the World Heritage site and adjacent private land, plantations or areas otherwise subject to intensive commercial forestry are recognized as threats and partially addressed in management. Furthermore, very ambitious biosecurity plans are in place or have been proposed for and beyond the World Heritage site (Allan et al., 2010).
World Heritage values

Undisturbed wilderness and spectacular landscapes

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
While the wilderness and landscape values of the World Heritage site remain very high, a number of direct and indirect impacts, mostly from increased commercial tourism development are of considerable concern to many stakeholders (IUCN and ICOMOS, 2015). A number of new commercial tourism developments are proposed for the site, many of them involving new infrastructure and/or mechanised access, comprising a potential threat to the site’s wilderness values (Birdlife Tasmania et al, 2017, Gogarty et al, 2018a). Uncontrolled bushwalking in the back country is still resulting in visual scarring of landscapes of outstanding natural aesthetic value (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).

The majority of the world’s tallest flowering trees forming the largest patches of awe-inspiring very tall forests

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The Eucalypt forests within the World Heritage site appear to be largely intact with observable changes being in line with natural dynamics and cycles. Since the original inscription, extensions have increased the area of protected tall Eucalypt forest, in particular the latest Minor Boundary Modification approved by the World Heritage Committee according to the corresponding independent technical advice (IUCN, 2013). This extension greatly increased the amount of vary tall forest (greater than 70 meters tall) within the site and included the addition of the, as yet, largest single patch of forest of this height identified globally (a single stand of over 770ha) (DPIPWE, 2019). Despite the increase in extent and number of vary tall forests and tall trees, climate change is expected to have an increasing impact on these values due to the combination of increased attrition from bushfire and changed climate reducing the potential height of regrowth. Rapid suppression of lightning strike fires may be necessary to ensure a future for these forests as climate changes. However, it should be noted that the lightning-ignited fires of 2018/2019 burned a substantial area of these forests, including part of the largest stand of very tall trees (State Party of Australia, 2019).

Exceptional expression, diversity and scale of karst features going back up to 400 million years

Good
Trend
Stable
Overall, the integrity of the numerous karst systems of the World Heritage site is excellent, especially those located in remote wilderness. Certain more accessible karst caves are subject to ongoing pressure from caving activity. This activity is the focus of an agency policy and is actively managed to balance recreation and conservation outcomes. An additional potential threat is erosion and other changes due to fire and climate change. It deserves to be noted that several extensions over time have added significant karst landforms to the World Heritage site (see for example IUCN, 2013).
 

Exceptionally broad range of geomorphological phenomena and processes

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The World Heritage site provides a high degree of protection to its living and relictual geomorphological heritage. There are, however, anthropogenic impacts from hydropower development modifying flows of the Gordon River within the site and consequently causing river bank erosion. While a detailed consideration is beyond the scope of this assessment, it deserves to be noted that from 2008-2010 “there has been some improvement in bank vegetation cover and little geomorphic change. However, an expected return to higher volume and more sustained discharge in 2011 is predicted to reverse those trends” (State Party of Australia, 2012).
The extensive lightning-ignited fires of the twenty-first century are known to have badly affected some globally outstanding organic landforms (State Party of Australia, 2019). There are also indications that climate change may be causing a reduction in the area of active periglacial features (Annandale and Kirkpatrick, 2017). 

Ongoing ecological processes with high degree of naturalness at a large-scale

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The World Heritage site itself is not subject to direct impacts on ongoing natural processes with the exception of small areas subject to intense visitation. At the same time, the surroundings of the site have been continuously and considerably modified over many decades by land use changes, such as the establishment of plantations. Nearby natural forests have been subject to logging and thus subject to a range of associated direct and indirect impacts, such as the introduction of weeds, pathogens, feral animals and genetic contamination etc. (IUCN and ICOMOS, 2015); threats also include planned fire escapes to forests and adjacent alpine vegetation (Law, 2009). Since inscription, the potential for infestations of new weeds has been a constant concern and in 2010 a significant new infestation of Phytophthora was detected on the Loddon Plains (State Party of Australia, 2012). Events such as these  are indications that multiple impacts on natural ecological processes are still possible despite the overall effective management of the World Heritage site itself. In the medium term, changes in fire regimes and climate will affect the nature and distribution of most ecological processes, from coastal progradation to alpine pool formation (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
 

Unique diversity of ancient taxa

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Ancient taxa are concentrated in areas where fire is absent on either side of the alpine treeline (Jordan et al., 2016). A small proportion of the remaining area with these taxa has been burnt in the last decade (State Party of Australia, 2019). The unique microbial community of the chemocline of the formerly meromictic lakes of the lower Gordon River has been lost. That community included some 200 taxa, some of which (e.g. purple sulfur reducing bacteria) might be considered ancient (IUCN Consultation, 2020a).
 

High plant biodiversity with exceptional proportion of relict and endemic species

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The World Heritage site contains a number of relict and endemic plants, many of which are threatened and the site is their last stronghold. No specific reports on plant species becoming increasingly threatened are known. It can be reasonably argued that anticipated impacts due to climate change will increase the vulnerability of highly specialized plants, especially in the alpine realm.
Climate change impacts are  also expected to increase the frequency and intensity of fires, further threatening these relict species (Parliament of Australia, 2016; The Wilderness Society et al, 2016).
 

Relict and endemic mammals

High Concern
Trend
Data Deficient
Most populations of relict and endemic mammals in the World Heritage site appear to be stable. The numbers of Tasmanian devils have continued to decline across Tasmania (Lazenby et al., 2018), however, devils occur widely throughout the World Heritage site, with large areas free of the impacts of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DPIPWE unpublished survey reports).

Rare, relict and endemic birds

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Having undergone an extremely rapid decline, the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) is listed Critically Endangered (Birdlife International, 2016). It faces an uncertain future, especially due to severe threats during the migration and its wintering range on mainland Australia. The World Heritage site is of critical importance as the only breeding site of the species. A National Recovery Plan for the species was revised in 2016 (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, 2016) and there are captive breeding programs to provide regular augmentation of the wild population (State Party of Australia, 2015). An outbreak of beak-and-feather disease in the wild population (State Party of Australia, 2016) recently further reduced numbers. The situation is far more secure for other bird species occurring in the World Heritage site.

Relict and endemic frogs

High Concern
Trend
Stable
Globally amphibians are extremely vulnerable to a range of interacting factors, including climate change and fungal diseases such as Chytrid. Invasive species, such as predatory fish, might also threaten amphibians in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage site. A Tasmanian Chytrid Management plan was developed and implemented in 2010 with a primary focus on the World Heritage site. A number of biosecurity measures have been implemented to minimise the spread of this and other diseases (Philips et al. 2010, DPIPWE, 2010).
 

Endemic and threatened reptiles

High Concern
Trend
Stable
While the various endemic skink species are not subject to any immediate known threats, they are potentially threatened by climate change, particularly those in alpine communities. The locally endemic Pedra Branca Skink (Carinascincus palfreymani), which is naturally restricted to Pedra Branca Island is Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List (Chapple et al., 2017).
 

Endemic and threatened freshwater fish

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Freshwater fish in Tasmania have naturally very limited distributions and are threatened by competition with and predation by introduced fish species such as brown trout, as well as habitat loss and degradation (Hardie et al., 2006). The Lake Pedder Galaxias (Galaxias pedderensis), strictly endemic to just Lake Pedder, has gone extinct in its original habitat probably due to a combination of habitat destruction by the flooding of Lake Pedder for a hydro-electric scheme; spreading of the native Climbing Galaxias, which did not previously occur in Lake Pedder, since the flooding; and the introduction of predatory alien brown trout. Although this species has been successfully translocated to Lake Oberon and a water supply dam at Strathgordon, it is listed as extinct in the wild under the EPBC Act (effective 06-Jun-2005). The other native Galaxias species, as well as other native freshwater fish occurring in the World Heritage site are similarly vulnerable. The Clarence Galaxias (Galaxias johnstoni), for example, is likewise listed as Critically Endangered, its distribution is restricted and threatened by alien brown trout. The swamp galaxias (Galaxias parvus) has been assessed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, however, no population trends could be identified yet (Freeman, 2019). The shallow wetlands of the Central Plateau are likely to dry out more with climate change, possibly threatening some native fish species (Davies and Driessen, 2018).

Enormous diversity of relict and endemic groups of invertebrates

Low Concern
Trend
Data Deficient
The trends in the highly diverse and in many cases endemic invertebrate populations within and around the World Heritage site are largely unresearched. However, invertebrates are as susceptible as their hosts, food sources and breeding places, which are better known. For example, the fate of the Pencil Pine Moth depends on the fate of the fire-susceptible Pencil Pine. Inasmuch as relict and endemic invertebrates tend to be associated with relict and endemic plants and vegetation types, changes in fire regimes and climate give cause for concern. However, overall monitoring of several species of relict and or endemic invertebrates have shown no evidence of decline (Ahyong, 2016; Driessen, 2019; Driessen et al., 2014; Driessen, 2010).

Tracts of undisturbed peatlands and moorlands

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The significant increase in the area burnt by landscape-scale fires in the summer months is a serious threat, given documented impacts on organic soils of such fires (Parks and Wildlife Service, 2015). Conditions are marginal for the formation of these soils, suggesting that they will experience decline as climate warms and dries.
 

Wild temperate coastline

Low Concern
Trend
Data Deficient
The impacts of sea-level rise due to climate change are yet to be fully evaluated or modelled, however there are several vulnerable types of features along the coast including lagoons, estuarine flats, dunes and beaches, and some of them are known to be retreating, especially on microtidal low energy sedimentary coasts. Interpretation of available sandy coast data is hampered by the shortness of the time series of monitoring. Estuaries such as Bathurst Harbour and the lower reaches of rivers entering it are eroding in what is interpreted to be an early response to sea level rise (Bradbury 2011). This is likely due to the facts that sea level rise over the past century represents a substantial fraction of the microtidal range and, unlike sandy coasts, recovery does not occur as part of a cyclic cut and fill process.
 
Assessment of the current state and trend of World Heritage values
Low Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Although the Tasmanian Wilderness is a vast and for the most part intact area which has conserved most of the specific conservation values for which it was inscribed on the World Heritage List, a number of threatening processes are causing the deterioration of some of its World Heritage values, including erosion of some landform features and resultant downstream sedimentation, as well as the risk of the extinction of the Orange- bellied Parrot population despite intensive conservation measures. Other key species facing major challenges include the Tasmanian devil, alpine vegetation (including iconic conifers such as pencil pine and king billy pine), and riverine rainforest (including prodigiously long-lived Huon pine). Landscape-scale fires caused by climate change constitute a major threat to many of the site’s ancient and other significant life forms along with landscapes created, modified and managed by Aboriginal people through the use of fire. Some landscape and wilderness values, ecological processes, and geodiversity values have also declined in parts of the site since inscription.
 
Assessment of the current state and trend of other important biodiversity values
Data Deficient
Trend
Data Deficient
Data deficient

Additional information

Outdoor recreation and tourism,
Natural beauty and scenery
Tasmanian Wilderness is a well-established destination enabling a wide range of visitor experiences, including self-sufficient hiking in remote areas.
History and tradition,
Wilderness and iconic features,
Sacred natural sites or landscapes,
Cultural identity and sense of belonging
The World Heritage site has strong meaning due to its Aboriginal past and present. As one of the last great temperate wilderness areas left on the planet, the site also serves as an inspiration for many. The strong protection status supports the conservation of sacred sites and other aboriginal sites. The site is also acclaimed as a resource to refresh the human spirit, either through direct visits, through landscape photography and publications, and through other works such as poetry and writing (Ashley, 2009; Brown b, 2017).
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Increasing
Carbon sequestration,
Soil stabilisation,
Coastal protection,
Flood prevention,
Water provision (importance for water quantity and quality)
This vast World Heritage site provides a wide range of services, including but not limited to carbon sequestration, water regulation and purification, soil stabilisation and coastal protection. The water regulation services are the basis for hydropower generation in some of the catchments, but also comprise completely wild, untrammelled river valleys elsewhere.
Importance for research,
Contribution to education
A substantial amount of research and education activities in the World Heritage site have been undertaken since inscription, including but not limited to botany, zoology, geology, geomorphology, archaeology, palynology, and dendrochronology. However with a changing climate and increased threats, additional knowledge is needed to underpin future decision making and a foundational research and monitoring program will inform an evaluation framework for the site. Continued efforts to use the World Heritage site for educational purposes should be encouraged as it provides a wealth of opportunities across thematic areas to enhance the understanding of the community be they children or adults.
Notwithstanding research previously undertaken, further research is required on Aboriginal cultural values, in areas including cultural landscapes, sites at risk to climate change and in fire management.
 
Tourism-related income,
Provision of jobs
The iconic World Heritage site generates important direct and indirect revenues and jobs. According to a 2009 report released by the State Party, the site creates over $700 million per annum in direct and indirect turnover, over $200 million per annum in annual income for the state of Tasmania, and over 5100 jobs (Gillespie Economics, 2009).
Fishing areas and conservation of fish stocks
The marine areas contribute to the protection of fish stocks.
Access to drinking water
The site protects important drinking water resources.
The vast World Heritage site provides a wide array of benefits. In addition to the obvious benefits of conserving major and irreplaceable cultural and natural values, the site is an iconic symbol as one of the last remaining large tracts of wild temperate lands anywhere on the planet. What is today the World Heritage site has major spiritual and cultural importance for both the Aboriginal and the wider community. Otherwise, the site generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues and over 5000 jobs in management and tourism, and serves as a rare and diverse reference area for many fields of science. Among the many ecosystem services, carbon sequestration, soil protection and water regulation and provision stand out, the latter also supporting hydropower generation.
Organization Project duration Brief description of Active Projects
1 Charles Sturt University Vaccination protocols for controlling psittacine beak and feather disease. Project locations – Victoria, Tasmania, NSW. The main aim of the project is to develop vaccination protocols to control psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) in critically endangered and threatened bird species. PBFD is a chronic and ultimately fatal disease in parrots. The species at most risk is the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot with an estimated current wild population of less than 50 birds. The last remaining populations of the orange-bellied parrots have been hampered by PBFD which is considered a key threatening process to at least 16 endangered and vulnerable bird species in Australia.
2 Tasmanian Government Addressing high risk biosecurity issues of immediate concern to landholders adjoining the 2013 extension. A comprehensive TWWHA Extension report on the natural values has been completed. &nbsp;
3 TWWHA Bushfire Response The TWWHA Fire Management Plan is scheduled for completion in 2021. The plan will detail bushfire planning and mitigation actions to improve knowledge and understanding or bushfire risks to the TWWHA. Fire is the single most powerful force shaping and influencing the natural values of the TWWHA. The Fire Advice and Tools project aims to deliver high quality and up to date information for adaptive fire management and to promote further research by facilitating communication and collaboration between fire managers and researchers. &nbsp;
4 Tasmanian Government Addressing the threshold for combustion of peat. Soil moisture is a major control on peat flammability. Understanding moisture thresholds of combustion will improve prediction of fire behaviour, offering improvements in prioritising fire suppression efforts and in modelling of fire behaviour, as well as better awareness of risks to fire crew safety. During planned burning, knowing the moisture threshold for combustion will help avoid inadvertently lighting the peats, which leads to lengthy and costly suppression efforts.
5 Tasmanian Government Mapping the distribution of organic soils across the TWWHA. Organic soils pose a significant problem to fire managers, as they are both a fire sensitive feature with outstanding universal value, and a fuel that once ignited is extremely difficult to extinguish.&nbsp; Fire in peat leads to costly and dangerous suppression efforts and causes significant and permanent ecosystem change in a single event.&nbsp; Recovery timeframes for deep peat fires are likely to be measured in thousands of years. Soil have also for a long time been identified as a significant data gap in the assessment of geoconservation values in the TWWHA (Cullen 2013).&nbsp; Currently there is no soil information/mapping in the TWWHA sufficiently detailed or accurate to allow fire managers to predict where potentially flammable soils occur.&nbsp; This increases the chance of the unintentional ignition of organic soils during planned burning.&nbsp; It also impacts on bushfire suppression planning, which can aim to prevent bushfire reaching large areas large areas of flammable organic soil if these locations are known.&nbsp; &nbsp;
6 Tasmanian Government Development of Cave Access Policy Zoning Statements for key cave systems within the TWWHA. Involves the planning and implementation of measures to protect priority TWWHA caves. Priority will be given to caves of high conservation significance, especially where un-managed access put values at risk. The scope includes ‘wild caves’ and show caves with the outcome being an improved balance between cave-based recreation and tourism on the one hand and conservation of the cave resource on the other. &nbsp;
7 Tasmanian Government Erosion monitoring in the lower Gordon River in response to tourism and recreational boating. On-going adaptive management of visitation to the lower Gordon River continues to be informed by provision of relevant geoscientific information and advice.&nbsp; Deliverables include time series data sets allowing identification of any trends and potentially enabling correlation of cause and effect. &nbsp;
8 Tasmanian Government Expanding upon an erosion monitoring program, geomorphological studies are aimed at identifying, assessing, mapping and documenting the nature, distribution and potential outstanding universal values of saltmarsh and other low-lying soft sediment landforms in the Port Davey – Bathurst Harbour area.&nbsp; This will allow better informed management decision making regarding existing and potential threats to those values, most notably tourism and climate change induced sea level rise. &nbsp;
9 Tasmanian Government Identification of eagle nest locations within the TWWHA. Utilising best practice protocols (e.g. those developed by the Forest Practices Authority), helicopter surveys were undertaken to record and map all observed eagle nests within priority survey areas. The survey data has been used to produce spatial layers and a detailed report outlining the locations of all observed eagle nests in the prioritised areas of the TWWHA. This information is made available to inform development proposals in the TWWHA; ensuring eagles are not disturbed by commercial tourism or management related activities such as hut installation, track work, planned burning or aircraft activity. &nbsp;
10 Tasmanian Government Development of a natural values climate change adaptation strategy (2020-2030) for the TWWHA which will identify an agreed upon strategic direction for the project for the coming 10 years. This will include identification of knowledge gaps which currently present issues for management of the TWWHA to minimise climate change impacts to values in the future and identification of work required to develop and test effective management actions. &nbsp;
11 Tasmanian Government Establishment of landscape-scale monitoring of trends in distribution, abundance and health of priority wildlife (e.g. devils, quolls and wombats) and invasive species (fallow deer and cats) and assessment of the impacts of bushfires and development activity.
12 Tasmanian Government Development of an ongoing strategic monitoring program for buttongrass moorlands and other treatable fire dependent ecosystems, including montane grasslands, within the TWWHA will enable the land manager to better understand impacts and benefits of planned burning and provide empirical data to inform revision of tolerable regime advice and planned burning prescriptions. This program will also deliver site specific conservation management plans for high priority grasslands and report on changes in grassland condition based on historical aerial imagery.
13 Tasmanian Government The TWWHA Biosecurity Strategy will identify, prioritise, prevent, manage, and respond to existing and new biosecurity threats. This financial year will see public consultation undertaken with completion of the Strategy by the end of 2020. Implementation of the strategy will result in a reduced risk of invasive organisms establishing in the TWWHA, minimised impact of established invasive organisms in the TWWHA and, improved communication and collaboration between stakeholders regarding biosecurity issues in the TWWHA. &nbsp;

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