Issue: Species, habitats and ecological communities - Condition of wetlands and riparian vegetation
This is an issue under the Biodiversity theme of the Data Reporting System.
Wetlands have an important function in Australia's environment and often support high levels of biodiversity. These communities attract a range of wildlife, including migrating waterbirds. Impacts such as those following vegetation clearing, draining or infilling, can lead to modified habitats less suited to many species.
Since European settlement, the condition and extent of many wetlands have decreased substantially. Wetlands in the eastern states, north-east coast and south-west Australia, are under considerable pressure from water extraction and catchment activities. Northern wetlands are generally healthier as they and their catchments are less developed, although there is likely to be increased pressure on them in the future
- IW-26 Forested streamlength
Riparian zones are sensitive environments - important for biodiversity in themselves - and with potentially significant effects on instream characteristics such as nutrient levels and turbidity. Protection and enhancement of natural values along water frontages will contribute to overall conservation management objectives.
- IW-27 Extent of significant wetlands (incl. Ramsar)
Although extent of wetlands is to some extent seasonal, long term trends in extent of wetlands is a surrogate indicator for condition of wetlands, and both extent and condition of wetlands are in turn indicative of the condition of wetland vegetation.
- IW-33 Abundance and distribution of waterbirds
The health of populations of waterbird species is an indicator of the overall condition of the aquatic system, which includes riparian vegetation. A decline in bird numbers provides a warning that the natural ecological functioning of the freshwater system is at risk.
- IW-34 Examples of deterioration of condition of wetland vegetation
Condition of wetland species of vegetation may be indicative of condition of wetlands and of riparian vegetation more generally.
- IW-48 Ramsar wetlands with implemented management plans
The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation and "wise use" of wetlands. The Convention encourages the designation of sites containing representative, rare or unique wetland types, or that are important for conserving biological diversity. Management plans outline measures required for the conservation of the wetlands. Effective management responses under Ramsar should result in a reduction of pressures currently impacting on wetlands and riparian vegetation.
- Inland Waters - Habitat scale influences - Wetlands
- Inland Waters - Habitat scale influences - Riparian vegetation
- Inland Waters - Response of biota - Frogs
- Inland Waters - Response of biota - Waterbirds
- Inland Waters - Response of biota - Wetland and floodplain communities
- Inland Waters - Human response - policy and management - Habitat management (including wetland management)
- Biodiversity - Species, habitats and ecological communities - Condition of freshwater biodiversity