Community members, environmental managers, interstate and international researchers will gather in Adelaide this week to celebrate, discuss and review the status of the natural ‘Living Coasts’ of the Australasian region.
The 2023 Australasian Mangrove and Saltmarsh Network (AMSN) conference will be opened by SA Environment Minister Dr Susan Close on Tuesday 14th Nov and is dedicated to the preservation and management of tidal saltmarshes, mangroves and tidal saltpans.
These coastal habitats are special places, well-known for their role in providing migratory bird and fish habitat (supporting commercial and recreational fisheries), protecting shorelines from the ravages of severe storms and rising sea levels, and being places where large amounts of carbon can be securely stored in plant biomass and below ground in the waterlogged soils. For these benefits to be realised however, it is essential these ecosystems are maintained and survive as functioning natural habitats of ‘Living Coasts’.
Although these ecosystems bring immense environmental and socio-economic benefits, they have become worryingly vulnerable and many areas are threatened by human activities. These threats have increased in recent decades and show no signs of slowing down. The conference provides a special opportunity for stakeholders interested in our ‘Living Coasts’ and their benefits, to seek out and explore innovative, locally relevant solutions for their protection, management, monitoring and restoration.
The conference will see around 100 attendees from all Australian states and territories as well as international delegates from New Zealand.
“It is fantastic to be hosting this annual national conference in SA for the first time ever. We have extensive areas of unique and valuable mangrove, saltmarsh and salt pan ecosystems in SA, and this gives us a great opportunity to showcase these as well as discuss key management and policy issues with the broader scientific and stakeholder community.” – Dr Alice Jones, University of Adelaide & Organising committee
“The enthusiasm amongst communities and researchers for these annual meetings is truly inspirational! As a researcher who has studied tidal wetlands for half a century, I believe the exchanges generated with these meetings is a salve to what otherwise could be quite discouraging. In this region, as well as other places around the world, these unique and highly beneficial tidal ecosystems are seriously threatened. They need our help! The gathering in Adelaide is an important step towards finding local solutions from shared national insights and expert knowledge.“ – Dr Norm Duke with James Cook University TropWater Centre and the facilitator of AMSN meetings since 2008
The conference will include field trips to the saltmarsh and coastal areas in Winaityinaityi Pangkara (the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary), saltmarshes around Hindmarsh Island and mangrove and saltmarsh areas at St Kilda, which have experienced significant impacts over the last few years due to a pollution event.
“South Australia offers many opportunities to enhance the area of ‘Living Coasts’ through restoration by tidal reconnection, and thereby gain a wide range of benefits, for carbon capture, biodiversity, and people”. – Prof Sabine Dittmann, Flinders University and conference committee.
The conference is being held at the University of Adelaide and the organising committee is made up of members from all three of SA’s universities, Green Adelaide, the SA Department for Environment and Water and James Cook University. It is being sponsored by Green Adelaide (Gold Sponsor), The Government of South Australia’s Coast Protection Board (Silver Sponsor), the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute (Bronze Sponsor) and The Nature Conservancy Australia (Bronze Sponsor).