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The effect of a harbour development on mangroves in northwestern Australia

Paling, E.I., Humphreys, G. and McCardle, I. (2003) The effect of a harbour development on mangroves in northwestern Australia. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 11 (5). pp. 281-290.

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Industrial development in northwestern Australia is largely concentrated in five ports involved with resource export. This paper examines the distribution of mangroves in one of these ports and the effects of harbour development upon them. The hypothesis tested was that development had not had a significant effect on creek erosion rates or mangrove mortality. Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh. dominated the mangrove coverage followed by Rhizophora stylosa Griff. Ceriops tagal (Perr.) C.B. Rob., Aegialitis annulata R. Br. and Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco comprised slightly more than 2% of the mangroves in the harbour. Aerial photography was less useful than in situ measurements for discerning smaller mangrove communities and the changes associated with creek bank erosion. Erosion rates varied from 0 to 2.8 m y -1 and there were few significant differences between creeks adjacent to industrial development and those far removed from it. It was concluded that the development within the harbour has not significantly impacted on creek erosion. Mangrove mortality was highly variable at the landward sites examined and there was no significant difference between tree death within and outside the harbour. Recovery of apparently dead trees occurred, possibly due to a reduction in local groundwater salinity. There was no evidence to support the hypothesis that harbour development has adversely affected the aspect of tree health measured in this study.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
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