Wetlands AustraliaNational Wetlands Update 2012

Issue No. 20, February 2012
ISSN 1446-4843

Introduction

Australian wetlands are dynamic ecosystems which are host to a variety of native species, from seagrasses to sandpipers, crocodiles to curlews and duckweed to dugongs. Wetlands vary in size and character. They provide benefits and services which help sustain Australia's landscapes as well as our urban and rural communities.

A total of 64 Australian wetlands, covering 8.1 million hectares, have been listed as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (www.ramsar.org ). There are also 900 wetlands listed on the Directory of important wetlands in Australia.

This year the theme of Wetlands Australia is 'Wetlands and Tourism'. This aligns with the theme of World Wetlands Day 2012 and is also linked to the theme of the 11th Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention ('Wetlands, Tourism and Recreation'). This conference is being held in June 2012 in Romania.

In 2009-10 tourism directly employed over half a million Australians and contributed $34 billion or 2.6 per cent to Australia's gross domestic product (Tourism satellite account 2009-10, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism). Wetlands occur at many tourism destinations, including iconic sites such as Kakadu National Park. Wetlands also provide local tourism and recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing and bird watching.

Tourism can have a variety of positive and negative impacts on a wetland. This year, articles in Wetlands Australia consider the benefits and challenges of tourism and recreation in and around wetlands. These articles also consider how tourism activities can be managed to maintain the ecological value of wetlands.

In 2012 Wetlands Australia celebrates its 20th edition. Over the years it has been published in partnership with a variety of organisations, including the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (now Authority) and WetlandCare Australia. The publication has evolved significantly since its inception in 1995 when it was introduced as a simple six-monthly newsletter. With this issue Wetlands Australia moves to a new format, with an e newsletter linked to a fully online magazine. The publication includes new features such as online subscription and live links to relevant websites.

The interest that has sustained this magazine over many years is evidence of the ongoing commitment and enthusiasm of Australia's wetland managers, researchers, governments and local communities to work together and share their stories.

Contents

Previous editions of Wetlands Australia are also available: