Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Historical Perspectives on the Mangroves of Kakadu National Park

Richard Lucas , C Finlayson , Renee Bartolo , Kerrylee Rogers , Anthea Mitchell , Colin Woodroffe , Emma Asbridge , Emilie Ens

Abstract

Mangroves are a major ecosystem within Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory, providing coastal protection, high biodiversity and an important resource for Aboriginal people. Mangroves once occupied much of the estuarine and coastal plains, but are currently restricted along the main river systems (the West Alligator, South Alligator, and East Alligator Rivers and the Wildman River) and tributary creeks, as well as offshore islands (Field and Barrow Islands). Maps of extent were generated from aerial photography, Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imagery (CASI) and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data acquired in 1991, 2002 and 2011. Field surveys in 1987 and 1991 provided ground information on forest structure, biomass and species composition. Comparison of these baseline datasets indicated limited changes in overall extent between 1991 and 2011 but significant redistribution due to storm damage, flooding and sedimentation. An aerial survey in September 2016 revealed dieback of mangroves, with RapidEye observations suggesting this occurred between 2015 and 2016. Given the recent dieback and the implications for management of this World Heritage and Ramsar listed area, a robust and long-term monitoring system, supported by a national system needs to be implemented, building on the substantial existing data for wetlands and mangroves in particular.

MF17065  Accepted 22 August 2017

© CSIRO 2017