Processes and factors driving change in mangrove forests: an evaluation based on the mass dieback event in Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria

Duke, Norman C., Hutley, Lindsay B., Mackenzie, Jock R., and Burrows, Damien (2021) Processes and factors driving change in mangrove forests: an evaluation based on the mass dieback event in Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria. In: Canadell, Josep G., and Jackson, Robert B., (eds.) Ecosystem Collapse and Climate Change. Ecological Studies, 241 . Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 221-264.

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Abstract

A vast area of more than 80 km2 (6–10% of total) of mangrove forests bordering Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria died en masse in late 2015 and early 2016. The dieback occurred over a number of months in synchrony across more than 1500 km of exposed Gulf shorelines. There are serious concerns about the implications of such an event given the important ecological and economic services provided by mangrove ecosystems, and the challenges to policy and management of such an abrupt loss of natural resources at both local and regional scales. In this chapter, we begin by structuring and quantifying the distinct and complex mix of processes involved in the natural establishment, growth, and development of mangrove stands in the context of enhanced environmental variability. Based on these findings, we develop a new evaluation framework to explain the severe response observed in late 2015 in mangroves of the Gulf of Carpentaria. We explore in detail the multiple drivers involved in the event and address the complex question of the role of climate change. These analyses and other observations about this unique event are brought together to assist the ongoing development and implementation of effective management policy, starting with monitoring programs at national and local scales. While this is a work in progress, these findings already provide unequivocal evidence that mangroves are vulnerable and acutely sensitive to extreme variations in sea level and climate change.

Item ID: 68531
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-3-030-71330-0
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Copyright Information: © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021
Funders: Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP), Northern Territory Government (NT)
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2021 00:07
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 30%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 30%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180206 Rehabilitation or conservation of coastal or estuarine environments @ 30%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1904 Natural hazards > 190499 Natural hazards not elsewhere classified @ 40%
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