Why are mangroves important – why do we monitor?
The Moreton Bay area has eight species of mangroves covering approximately 13,500 hectares. Mangroves have multiple merits, they are coastal:
- canaries – early indicators of change in aquatic health
- kidneys – trapping and filtering sediments
- nurseries – being essential habitat for fish crabs and prawns
- buffers – providing protection against waves, coastal erosion and storm tide surges
- lungs – with super carbon storage capacity: 5x more storage than other forests and 50x faster
While in some places there has been expansion of mangroves, overall mangrove coverage and resilience continue to decline. Globally mangrove loss since 1980 has been 30% and in Australia 17%.
MangroveWatch is a mangrove monitoring program that provides a standardized method to assess shoreline mangrove condition and change over time. It aims to establish a long-term visual record of mangroves; improve understanding of mangrove ecosystems; generate community awareness of mangroves and, encourage local environmental stewardship.
MangroveWatch Moreton Bay
The Wildlife Queensland’s Bayside Branch launched their Mangrove-Watch Monitoring Project in Moreton Bay in March 2009 with a cruise on southern Moreton Bay. The monitoring method initially utilised was a hands-on, feet-in-the mud methodology using transects and quadrats devised with the assistance of the world-renown Dr Norm Duke.
In 2012 Wildlife Queensland complimented the mangrove monitoring being done in Moreton Bay by introducing the Shoreline Video Assessment Methodology (S-VAM). S-VAM was devised by Dr Norm Duke and his colleague Jock
Mackenzie and involves monitoring using a video camera, still camera and GPS to record data and assess change.
Wildlife Queensland Coastal Citizen Science (WQCCS) conducts MangroveWatch in several locations around Moreton Bay. The project is made possible by support from the Brisbane Airport Corporation, Port of Brisbane, SEQ Catchments, the Norman Wettenhall Foundation, WPSQ Bayside Branch, Healthy Waterways and Tangalooma Resort.
For more information on WPSQ’s projects, email or phone +61 (7) 3844 0129.