Issue: Response of biota - Wetland and floodplain communities
This is an issue under the Inland waters theme of the Data Reporting System.
Wetlands include ecosystems such as swamps, floodplain depressions, billabongs, marshes, ponds and mangroves. Because of the high seasonal and year-to-year variation in rainfall in many areas of Australia, many wetlands are temporary and dry out periodically.
Wetlands reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants, provide habitat and food resources for animals and plants and have a function in erosion control, groundwater recharge and discharge, nutrient interception and drought protection. They also purify water and are important for recreational activities.
Wetlands are among the most threatened ecosystems due to draining, infilling, pollution, floodplain isolation, vegetation clearing and salinity.
Many of Australia’s major river systems flow into large estuaries or floodplains. These floodplain areas provide habitat for many species of waterbirds and other dependent aquatic organisms.
Wetlands and floodplains 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.
- IW-27 Extent of significant wetlands (incl. Ramsar)
Wetland biota generally are vulnerable to changes in the extent and condition of wetlands and extent of wetlands may therefore be a surrogate indicator for the condition of wetland biota.
- IW-34 Examples of deterioration of condition of wetland vegetation
Assessment of the condition of wetland vegetation is an important tool for monitoring wetland health. The dominance of particular species of vegetation may provide an indication of hydrological or water quality changes that have taken place (e.g. without semi-regular flooding, river red gums may decline; or, the dominance by Typha, an emergent wetland bulrush, tends to indicate disturbance in the surrounding landscape). In the absence of data on the condition of all Australian wetlands, particular wetlands where condition has been assessed may provide insights into wetland condition more broadly.
- CO-01 Trends in selected groups of coastal and marine species and habitats
Several of the species selected as potentially indicative of the condition of coastal and marine biodiversity more broadly are also indicative of the condition of wetland communities.
- Inland Waters - Habitat scale influences- Riparian vegetation
- Inland Waters - Habitat scale influences- Wetlands
- Inland Waters - Response of biota- Frogs
- Inland Waters - Response of biota- Waterbirds
- Inland Waters - Response of biota- Invasive species
- Inland Waters - Human response - policy and management- Habitat management (including wetland management)
- Biodiversity - Species, habitats and ecological communities- Condition of freshwater biodiversity
- Biodiversity - Species, habitats and ecological communities- Condition of wetlands and riparian vegetation