The distribution and protection of intertidal habitats in Australia

Dhanjal-adams, Kiran L., Hanson, Jeffrey O., Murray, Nicholas J., Phinn, Stuart R., Wingate, Vladimir R., Mustin, Karen, Lee, Jasmine R., Allan, James R., Cappadonna, Jessica L., Studds, Colin E., Clemens, Robert S., Roelfsema, Chris M., and Fuller, Richard A. (2016) The distribution and protection of intertidal habitats in Australia. Emu, 116 (2). pp. 208-214.

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Abstract

Shorebirds have declined severely across the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Many species rely on intertidal habitats for foraging, yet the distribution and conservation status of these habitats across Australia remain poorly understood. Here, we utilised freely available satellite imagery to produce the first map of intertidal habitats across Australia. We estimated a minimum intertidal area of 9856km2, with Queensland and Western Australia supporting the largest areas. Thirty-nine percent of intertidal habitats were protected in Australia, with some primarily within marine protected areas (e.g. Queensland) and others within terrestrial protected areas (e.g. Victoria). Three percent of all intertidal habitats were protected by both marine and terrestrial protected areas. To achieve conservation targets, protected area boundaries must align more accurately with intertidal habitats. Shorebirds use intertidal areas to forage and supratidal areas to roost, so a coordinated management approach is required to account for movement of birds between terrestrial and marine habitats. Ultimately, shorebird declines are occurring despite high levels of habitat protection in Australia. There is a need for a concerted effort both nationally and internationally to map and understand how intertidal habitats are changing, and how habitat conservation can be implemented more effectively.

Item ID: 60297
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-5540
Funders: Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited (GPC), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: GPC CA130019, ARC LP150101059
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2019 01:33
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 10%
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