NERP TE Project 2.2 Mangrove and freshwater habitat status of Torres Strait islands (JCU)

This project will examine the status, diversity and condition of mangroves and freshwater habitats in the Torres Strait. This will provide a baseline against which future changes can be assessed and will also enable planning for adaptation to potential sea level rise/increased storm surge. The project builds on Torres Strait Islanders’ knowledge and understanding of mangrove habitats, with scientists working in partnership with Traditional Owners. This project will: 1. Undertake a baseline survey of the status and condition of mangroves and freshwater wetland habitats in Torres Strait based on a combination of aerial imagery and on-ground surveys, including documenting species present and identifying the presence of exotic species. 2. Where feasible, document knowledge of selected communities about their uses of mangrove and freshwater habitats and provide management advice for these habitats, where required. 3. Assess mitigation options for mangroves, protection/management/rehabilitation needs, and climate change-related adaptive strategies.

Torres Strait islands have extensive mangrove margins and several islands are predominantly made up of intertidal swamps. But there has been no thorough assessment of the diversity, extent and health of mangrove ecosystems on the islands. Establishing the baseline of mangrove status and condition is important as low-lying mangroves are among the most threatened ecological communities in Torres Strait. They are also a shoreline community that plays a vital role in mitigating the effects of oceanic intrusion by buffering coastlines against waves and providing erosion protection. It is thus important that these ecosystems remain intact and to understand the role they play in providing such protective and beneficial services.

Principal Investigator
Duke, Norm, Prof. TropWATER, James Cook University (TropWATER/JCU) norman.duke@jcu.edu.au
Co Investigator
Burrows, Damien, Dr TropWATER, James Cook University (TropWATER/JCU) damien.burrows@jcu.edu.au

Publications / Data