Location and Values: The Tasmanian Wilderness occupies 20% of the land area of the island of Tasmania, lying off the southeastern coast of the Australian continent. It covers an extensive contiguous complex of conservation areas in the southwest of the island, including the major national parks of Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair, Walls of Jerusalem, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers, Southwest and Mount Field National Parks as well as the Central Plateau Conservation Area. The world heritage site encompasses most of the last temperate rainforest in Australia, combining ancient ‘relict’ species originating on the Gondwana supercontinent (such as the southern beech), with extensive tracts of tall Eucalypt forests more characteristic of Australia’s modern-day vegetation. The Tasmanian Wilderness includes large areas of rocky glaciated mountain terrain, alpine meadows and moorlands, highland lakes, swamps, wild rivers and a long rugged coastline. It provides habitat for some of Australia’s most iconic species – such as the platypus and echidna (egg-laying monotreme mammals) as well as the Tasmanian Devil and quoll (carnivorous marsupials) – and its flora and fauna includes an exceptionally high proportion of endemic species, known only from Tasmania.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2014) the conservation status of the Tasmanian Wilderness at that time was ‘good with some concerns’. The IUCN report noted that ‘competing land-use claims along the boundaries of the Tasmanian Wilderness has been a contentious issue ever since the inscription of the property in 1982 and its further extension in 1989. The recent boundary extensions of 2010, 2012 and 2013 have contributed to the Outstanding Universal Value of the site and improved the scope for effective management of the property. Despite considerable management efforts, a high number of threats face both the initially inscribed property and areas to which it was extended. The biggest issues arise from inadequate resourcing of scientific research into WH values and monitoring; increasing pressures to allow intrusive commercial tourism which could impact heavily on key sites and WH values; protection and management of areas which have been recently added to the property. The conflict around these extensions needs to be resolved in order to ensure the long-term conservation of the property. ’
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description