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Recommendations for the future management and conservation of saltmarshes in the Peel-Harvey estuarine system. In: McComb, A.J., Kobryn, H.T. and Latchford, J.A. (eds) Samphire marshes of the Peel-Harvey estuarine system Western Australia.

Rose, T.H. and McComb, A.J. (1995) Recommendations for the future management and conservation of saltmarshes in the Peel-Harvey estuarine system. In: McComb, A.J., Kobryn, H.T. and Latchford, J.A. (eds) Samphire marshes of the Peel-Harvey estuarine system Western Australia. Peel Preservation Group and Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

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    Abstract

    Estuarine saltmarshes can stimulate a number of senses. In a visual way, they provide a pleasing vista of procumbent to tall shrubs and trees tinged with colours ranging from red in autumn to succulent green in spring. This view is often enhanced by the sight of hundreds of wading birds feeding and dabbling along the shores and flying low over this interface between land and water. Saltmarshes also provide a contrasting sense when the rich productive smells of the marsh are detected. These smells are composed of decaying sun-baked vegetation mixing with the rotting gases of fetid muddy land. To some, the landscape features and the close proximity of open estuarine waters provides a potentially dollar-rich urban development challenge. With enough fill and re-contouring, these areas could be converted into expensive waterside homes. To all, however, the swarming mosquito hazes can drive us into our homes or cars making us wonder why nature has been so free in creating such a varied environment.

    Overall, samphire marshes truly embody a large ecotone metaphor. On one side is a unique habitat providing an interface and link between land and water, and on the other side an environment fertile for human cultural conflict. Unfortunately, humans are an ecotone species and are drawn to the fringes of estuaries. To reduce conflict and successfully manage these environments requires an understanding of current land ownership, reserve status of fringing land, international treaty obligations, the planning process and the use of practical management plans and structures. It is also important to recognise the wisdom of using applied management and theoretical research plans to provide answers to management questions. They are most helpful if these plans recognise the uniqueness of most saltmarshes and give the public and estuarine manager the kind of information which allows saltmarshes to be conserved and sustained well into the future. Ultimately, any management plan must provide direction to help prevent the degradation of saltmarsh functions, such as ecologically important biodiversity, productivity and nutrient storage and release functions.

    Publication Type: Report
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    Publisher: Peel Preservation Group and Murdoch University
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/6165
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