DISCUSS THE NATURAL AND HUMAN – INDUCED THREATS TO THESE WETLANDS AND OUTLINE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES WHICH COULD PROTECT AND SUSTAIN THEM.
Mangroves are a type of marine ecosystem. They occur within the intertidal zone of the Minnamurra River estuary. This ecosystem is made up of a community of plants and animals interacting with each other and the abiotic environment. The vegetation of the shoreline is dominated by the Grey Mangrove and the River Mangrove. At the study site, both mangroves can be observed growing upon yellow sandy beaches, but more often within grey sands and fine black mud. Other initial observations reveal general patterns of distribution of the two mangroves. Firstly, grey mangrove mostly grows closer toward the low tide mark than river mangrove. Grey mangrove also appears more frequently toward the mouth of the estuary while river mangrove is more dominant further upstream. Various abiotic characteristics, such as annual rainfall, seasonal variations in rainfall, temperature extremes, wind exposure, soil type/texture, topography, pH, sunlight and availability of nutrients, to name a few, influence the diversity, distribution and populations of species within the mangrove ecosystem.
Since European settlement, human activities have degraded many wetland environments around Australia, and the Minnamurra Intertidal wetland is no exception. Threats and impacts to wetlands include:
* Alteration of natural water regimes – This can be caused by activities such as artificial drainage, the extraction of groundwater, the construction of dams and weirs and the loss of vegetation. Plants and animals that inhabit wetlands are often dependent on a particular water regime, and may be affected by changes in water levels and inundation. * Loss of Vegetation – The vegetation that occurs around the wetlands is an important component of the ecosystem. The vegetation assists in maintain regular wetland water regimes, provides habitat and food for...
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