A leading mangrove researcher has called for training of Indigenous rangers to help monitor and prevent mangrove dieback amid fears future cyclones could have serious impacts on the north Australian coastline.
The death of more than 7,000 hectares of mangrove forests along 1,000 km of the southern shoreline of the Gulf of Carpenteria from Roper River in the Northern Territory to Karumba in Queensland was globally unprecedented and has left these shorelines exposed to serious threats.
James Cook University senior mangrove ecologist and Professional Research Fellow, Dr Norman Duke said he was most concerned about the threat future cyclones would have on the coast.
“The mangrove dieback has made these coastal sections vulnerable to severe storms and cyclones for the next two decades which could cause catastrophic erosion until new seedlings grow,” Dr Duke said.
“Because of the remote location, it is important that we work with Indigenous communities, particular rangers so they can not only work with visiting specialists but also conduct monitoring of the shoreline on their own.
“We are already doing this with Traditional Owner groups along the east coast of Australia from Torres Strait to Moreton Bay and looking to have discussions with some interested groups in the Northern Territory.”
Dr Duke will present an update on his research at the 2016 Territory Natural Resource Management Conference which will be held from 22-24 November. The conference will bring together people working in natural resource management from across the Northern Territory.
Other key projects that will be presented at the conference include:
Mud Crab Sustainability project – NT Seafood Council is undertaking a major project to gather insights into factors affecting mud crab harvests and how sustainability can be enhanced.
Bellyache Bush – Management of the poisonous plant which covers an estimated 12 000 hectares of land in the Upper Daly River catchment.
Digital storybook – An insight into the development of a screen based digital version of the Southern Tanami IPA management plan which does not require people to read or understand English.
Fire management in the Western Top End – Allowing areas and groups with limited capacity and equipment for fire management to be covered by various partners including neighbouring ranger groups, Bushfires NT and independent fire management consultants.
TNRM Chief Executive Officer Karen May said the conference was the perfect forum to highlight the work done by thousands of people who work to protect the natural areas, native species and habitats in the NT.
“It is a great opportunity to come together and discuss land management and how we can improve our practices to suit changing these environments,” Ms May said.