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Why do we love beaches and not care for wetlands?


Scientists filled the seats of the Australian Saltmarsh and Mangrove network conference last week in Hobart to discuss the challenges and solutions for protecting our amazing coastal frontiers.

There was a major theme for the (AMSN) conference aimed at promoting the story of the “riches behind our beaches” and advancing our knowledge and management of these coastal wetlands through support from Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups (that’s us!) and other agencies.

So this might sound like some seriously scientific stuff best left for the professionals but through the purpose of this conference we challenge you to think about where your values stand regarding our environmental wonders.

There are some serious questions everyone can ask themselves that can perhaps help shine a light on our not so popular habitats.

Why have we severely cleared wetland habitat for development and aesthetics destroying the habitat of endangered birds, plants, animals and left long stretches of our beach coastline protected and regulated from nearly everything from dogs poo, fires, camper vans and alcohol?

Could we perhaps consider the stunning beauty of our wetlands, let alone the diverse range of free eco-system services mangroves and saltmarsh provide us with, as fish habitat, tsunami buffers and carbon sequestration.

Is it too hard to look beyond the BBQ’s, beach cricket and sun tanning to value one of the biggest climate change game players we have that stores more carbon per square metre than the ocean or rainforests?

If a stretch of white sand beach was completely cleared and beach mansions placed on top of it with a retaining wall to the sea noone would stand for it, but we seem to be complacent when we clear and destroy our rich habitats sitting behind our beaches.

Below you can listen to Dr. Norm Duke from James Cook University on ABC radio explore the topic of valuing out wetlands and learn about the fascinating world of our coastal frontiers and the important role they play in the eco-system.

If you would like to volunteer for the Revive Our Wetlands program Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) are launching these important activities around the country for you to get involved in. 

Click here to volunteer.

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