Lack of water kills Australian mangrove


In Australia, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, extreme climatic conditions killed thousands of hectares of mangroves. A highly prized environment for many species.

The researchers say it is the “ most serious, most remarkable and widespread case of the decline of mangrove vegetation ever reported.“

Between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, vast areas of mangrove swamp vegetation died on 1000 km of the southern shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria.  7400 hectares perished wich correspond to 6% of the vegetation in the Roper River Estuary area in the Northern Territory, east of Karumba, Queensland.

The period coincides with extreme weather events. „At the time, there was an abnormally long period of severe drought, unprecedented high temperatures and a temporary drop in sea level (20 cm),“  the study said. The decline in ocean levels is due to a warm equatorial current in the Pacific, El Nino . This phenomenon occurs irregularly every two to seven years. “ El Niño, and its counterpart La Niña, are large-scale oceanic phenomena in the equatorial Pacific, affecting wind regimes, sea temperature and precipitation.

The mangrove is a motor for the local ecosystems. Overall, the mangrove flora of Australia, with its 36 specific species, is one of the richest in the world. Avicennia marina is the most widespread and most common among them. These forests filter runoff and protect seagrass beds and corals, but they also  capture carbon in the atmosphere and serve as breeding grounds for many animals.

Hundreds of species live in all of the country’s mangroves. 70 of them are crustaceans, 230 birds, 70 fish and no less than 100 species on the mollusc side.

According to The Marine Education Society of Australasia, “ there are endangered species that live in mangrove ecosystems, such as the marine crocodile, the pygmy Varan, the false water rat, the edema of the reefs, the ant plant…“