Quantum and distribution of Blue Carbon stocks of Tasmanian coastal saltmarshes

Mr John Aalders1

1University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


Tidal wetlands are known to be important as carbon stores in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation. There are few reliable estimates available for Australian coastal saltmarshes and none for Tasmania. To address this gap, an extensive investigation was conducted involving 91 sites/407 plots state-wide, including major off-shore islands. The study reports on soil carbon levels for Tasmanian native coastal saltmarshes providing a highly detailed and spatially differentiated account of the quantum and distribution of this carbon store. Compared to elsewhere in Australia, Tasmanian saltmarsh soils are found to be shallower on average, limiting the amount of stored carbon when compared to other states. In aggregate figures, Tasmanian coastal saltmarshes contain a total carbon stock of 390,000 tonnes, currently valued at $19.8 million (AUD), with an average carbon offset value of $3,380 per hectare. The study also identified limitations in current reporting and proposes an improved protocol to account for common errors and uncertainties in carbon calculation.


John Aalders (BSc (Honours)) is a PhD Candidate at the University of Tasmania. John has a strong interest and expertise in Tasmanian coastal saltmarshes with a focus on vegetation patterning, soils and halophilic plant species resilience.

E: John.Aalders@utas.edu.au

Assessing cultural service values associated with coastal saltmarsh in a rapidly changing urban landscape in South Australia

A/Prof. Beverley Clarke1, Mr Aung Ko Thet1

1Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia


Coastal saltmarshes on the periphery of Adelaide in South Australia are recognised for their biological importance; they perform a range of essential environmental functions. Yet, in this region coastal saltmarshes have been lost and continue to be threatened. Opportunity for the reclamation of this coastline has emerged. A current project examines the blue carbon value of these Adelaide saltmarshes, with the intent of informing decision makers about restoration options, and enhancing research expertise on climate action and coastal saltmarsh rehabilitation. One part of the project is using ecosystem service evaluation to quantify the worth of the habitat. One of the least researched aspects of ecosystem services valuation is that of cultural values. Understanding how values for wetlands are derived from the way people perceive, depend on and or/use ecosystems is limited. This presentation presents the results of an empirical study that investigated how people use or attribute value to these coastal wetlands, attaining data from two population groups. An online survey canvassed various interest groups active in the region while a household questionnaire sought information from people living in adjacent settlements. The presentation shows how participants articulated their connections and ascribed value to the coastal saltmarshes of Adelaide.


Beverley is social scientist particularly interested in how people influence environmental management. She has been investigating how both formal (governance) and informal (cultural and social) processes affect decision-making processes and outcomes for the environment. Dr Clarke has been conducting research in the area of environmental planning and management, specialising in coasts, over the last 20 years. Her current work focusses on cultural values associated with vulnerable coasts, scenario planning for climate futures and climate adaptation, the policy implications of sea level rise, and the social dimensions of natural resource management.

Wetland conservation and climate change adaptation through statutory land use planning: a Tasmanian case study

Dr Vishnu Prahalad1

1University of Tasmania


Coastal wetlands and waterways are important for biodiversity conservation and the provision of ecosystem services. Many have been under threat from land clearing, infill development and, increasingly, to sea level rise. Such wetlands not only need to be conserved at their present locations, they must be also able to retreat landwards if ecological functionality and resilience are to be maintained. While land use planning processes and applications can provide a structured approach for both in situ conservation and preservation of retreat pathways, rarely have these outcomes been achieved. This presentation documents the development of GIS-based State-wide wetlands and waterways and coastal refugia planning overlays in Tasmania, south-eastern Australia, for inclusion within the new State-wide planning system. The overlays were designed to conserve current wetland extent, their buffers and future retreat areas. This presentation discusses the technical, procedural and socio-political context in which the overlays were developed. The overlays provide a useful planning tool for evaluating how best to facilitate wetland conservation and climate change adaptation. Though, the sustained and effective use of the overlays is contingent on increasing socio-political awareness of the functions, benefits and ecosystem services of wetlands and waterways.


Vishnu Prahalad is a Lecturer in Physical Geography at the Discipline of Geography & Spatial Sciences at the University of Tasmania. He has varied research interests ranging from saltmarsh and wetland ecology, science communication, community engagement, planning and management, systems thinking, moral philosophy and political economy. Vishnu’s research and teaching focuses on supporting varied organisations and community groups through engagement, capacity building and incentives, to foster sustainable systems of production and consumption.

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