Australian Coral Reef Society Inc.

May 27, 2016 - Australian Coral Reef Society Inc. A society promoting scientific study of Australian Coral Reefs. ACRS Correspondence c/- Biological Sciences. The University of Queensland. St Lucia QLD 4072. (07) 3365 1686 Science-Based Policy Plan for Australia's Coral. Reefs. Benefits ...
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Australian Coral Reef Society Inc. A society promoting scientific study of Australian Coral Reefs ACRS Correspondence c/- Biological Sciences The University of Queensland St Lucia QLD 4072 (07) 3365 1686 [email protected]

Science-Based Policy Plan for Australia’s Coral Reefs Benefits of Mangroves Science Brief for Hon. Mark Butler MP 27 May 2016

One of the greatest threats facing Australia’s Economic Benefit coral reefs is water quality1. Agriculture, coastal development and land clearing are “An Australia-wide investment of dramatically increasing the levels of nutrients, $350 million into [mangrove] repair sediments and pollutants being deposited to will be returned in less than 5 watersheds that feed directly into the Great years”5 Barrier Reef2 (see map bottom-right). Declining water quality has already led to decreased coral diversity and coverage on coastal reefs of the GBR3,4. Importantly, mangroves have the ability to reduce impacts of water quality. Australia has the 2nd largest area of mangroves in the world. Below, we have highlighted the benefits of mangroves, and recommend immediate action to protect and restore mangrove forests along the Queensland coast.

Suspended Sediment Capture •

Coastal areas with mangroves have been shown to accumulate 4-14 mm of sediment annually, versus losses of up to 38 mm of sediment per year in adjacent areas without mangroves, a net benefit of 50mm 6,7 Suspended capture increases the resilience of coastlines to sea level rise8

President: Vice-President: Hon Secretary: Hon Treasurer:

Dr Andrew Hoey; Tel: 0458 174 583; Email: [email protected] Dr Anna Scott; Tel: 02 6648 3923; [email protected] Dr O. Selma Klanten; Tel: 0417 341 941; Email: [email protected] Dr Jennifer Donelson; Tel: 0402 062 046; Email: [email protected]

Fisheries •

75% of commercially caught fish and prawns depend on mangroves for part of their life cycle9 Biomass more than doubles in numerous commercial fish species when adult reef habitat is connected to mangroves10

Mangrove Restoration •

“Mangrove conservation and restoration efforts in areas close to human populations will likely give the greatest return on investment for enhancing fisheries.”11,12

Mark Spalding

Nutrient Sequestration •

Carbon Sequestration •

Carbon sequestration from mangrove forests rival some of the most productive terrestrial forests per unit area, playing a vital role in mitigating effects of carbon emissions Mangroves store 10-15% of coastal carbon, despite occupying only 0.5% of coastal area13

Restoration of mangroves was used to adapt to coastal erosion along Thailand’s coast. A return of biodiversity was also observed14 (see photo above) Mangrove forests have been used to restore abandoned and unviable shrimp ponds, and restore the natural hydrology in the area15

Mangroves are coastal kidneys, improving water quality of areas used for agriculture, mining and effluent discharge by absorbing high rates of nutrients and heavy metals16,17 An estimated 2-22 : 1 ratio of mangroves to prawn ponds are needed to capture nutrient runoff by prawn aquaculture activity 18

Kind Regards,

For Further Advice, Please Contact: Dr. Norman Duke: [email protected] Dr. Ruth Reef: [email protected] Dr. Kerrylee Rogers: [email protected] Prof. Colin Woodroffe: [email protected] Australian Mangrove and Saltmarsh Network


Dr. Andrew Hoey President, Australian Coral Reef Society ACRS thanks the writing team of Ms. Carrie Sims, Mr. Michael McWilliam, Ms. Paloma Matis, Mr. Steve Doo, and Ms. Stephanie Duce for their contribution as well as advice from Drs. Ruth Reef, Kerrylee Rogers.