Saturday, July 3, 2010

The wonders of wetlands

At first the thought of trees and swampy marshy aquatic environment does not necessarily sound all that exciting...but a few factoids for you:

In Queensland alone wetlands provide essential habitat for;
  • 130 fish species,
Boondall Wetlands looking towards Shorncliffe

  • 150 species of waterbirds (both resident and migratory),
Brahminy Kite at Boondall Wetlands

  •  and more than 3000 plant species - many considered rare of threatened
Paperbark swamp Coombabah Wetlands ~ threatened ecosystem

Wetlands sustain agriculture, buffer us from the extremes of flooding and erosion and filter out pollutants that would otherwise flush straight out into the ocean and impact the Great Barrier Reef.

I have a thing about both wetlands and mangroves...I have to admit it is really that I don't quite understand how trees have managed to colonise what seems (on the face of it) to be one of the more hostile environments you could think of.

I'll look at mangroves in many other posts, and as always have to acknowledge that my own level of knowledge and understanding is always Alex Shigo loved to say "When you stop are dead!" 

Some places in Australia have managed not only to revegetate degraded areas bringing back the plants and ani,als that would have lived in the wetlands before they were damaged or cleared......the following shots are from the Hunter Wetlands Centre literally 10 mins from Newcastle's CBD...brilliant.

Some truely beautiful shots from Coombabah Wetlands (Gold Coast) and Boondall Wetlands (Nth Brisbane)

It is very hard to imagine anyone who would not recognise the huge importance of protecting these so special habitats, not just from direct obvious damage (like the historical mistakes of draining the swamps and marshes of our coastal fringe) but also the indirect damage that our runaway urbanisation is inflicting on all the natural systems on which we actually depend.

It is not an either or situation....we can have planned urban centres such as those within the SE Qld plan BUT for any development to be sustainable it must accept the constraints demanded by the provision of adequate protection to the natural environment.