Herbicides implicated as the cause of severe mangrove dieback in the Mackay region, NE Australia: consequences for marine plant habitats of the GBR World Heritage Area

Duke, Norman C., Bell, Alicia M., Pedersen, Dan K., Roelfsema, Chris M., and Bengston Nash, Susan (2005) Herbicides implicated as the cause of severe mangrove dieback in the Mackay region, NE Australia: consequences for marine plant habitats of the GBR World Heritage Area. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 51 (1-4). pp. 308-324.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] PDF (Erratum) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.20...


Herbicides, particularly diuron, were correlated with severe and widespread dieback of the dominant mangrove, Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh. var. eucalyptifolia (Val.) N.C. Duke (Avicenniaceae), its reduced canopy condition, and declines in seedling health within three neighbouring estuaries in the Mackay region of NE Australia. This unusual species-specific dieback, first observed in the early 1990s, had gotten notably worse by 2002 to affect >30 km2 of mangroves in at least five adjacent estuaries in the region. Over the past century, agricultural production has responded well to the demands of increasing population with improvements in farm efficiency assisted by significant increases in the use of agricultural chemicals. However, with regular and episodic river flow events, these chemicals have sometimes found their way into estuarine and nearshore water and sediments where their effects on marine habitats have been largely unquantified. Investigations over the last three years in the Mackay region provide compelling evidence of diuron, and possibly other agricultural herbicides, as the most likely cause of the severe and widespread mangrove dieback. The likely consequences of such dieback included declines in coastal water quality with increased turbidity, nutrients and sediment deposition, as well as further dispersal of the toxic chemicals. The implications of such findings are immense since they describe not only the serious deterioration of protected and beneficial mangrove habitat but also the potential for significant direct and indirect effects on other highly-valued estuarine and marine habitats in the region, including seagrass beds and coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. This article reviews all key findings and observations to date and describes the essential correlative and causative evidence.

Item ID: 34944
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: mangroves; Avicennia marina; dieback; herbicides; diuron; pollution; catchment runoff; impact; Great Barrier Reef; Queensland; Australia
Related URLs:
Additional Information:

An erratum to this publication was published in the same journal in 2008:

Duke, Norman C. (2008) Corrections and updates to the article by Duke et al. (2005) reporting on the unusual occurrence and cause of dieback of the common mangrove species, Avicennia marina, in NE Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 56 (9). pp. 1668-1670. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.08.001

This erratum covered correction to an Author's spelling, and changes to tables and figures.

Funders: Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Australian National Heritage Trust
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2014 06:21
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069901 Forensic Biology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management @ 30%
Downloads: Total: 5
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page