World of Wetland Plants Never Looked So Identifiable

Monica Haynes
January 31, 2017

Guide to Wetland Plants of the Wet Tropics

An essential new guide to the wetland plants of the wet tropics, published by Terrain NRM in partnership with Department of Agriculture and Fisheries through the Queensland Wetlands Program.

“Wetlands are being appreciated for their huge contribution to biodiversity and those ecosystem processes,” said author Dr Greg Calvert. “Whilst the role of individual plant species is often poorly understood, or overlooked, the days when people viewed wetlands as stinking, useless swamps have passed and we are moving into a more enlightened period,” he said.

The project, administered by Terrain NRM, was funded by the Queensland Wetlands Program as part of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Wetland in Agriculture: Training, Extension and Resources (WATER) project. Terrain’s Bart Dryden said the publication is essential reading for anyone that is interested in wetlands and the role they play in the landscape.

“Wetlands are some of our most important regional assets; they play an important role in flood mitigation, providing nurseries and habitat for fish such as barramundi habitat for migratory birds and for maintaining water quality”, said Mr Dryden.

"With a stronger emphasis of protection of the Great Barrier Reef, a great level of attention is being focused on the role of wetlands, both natural and constructed, in stripping harmful nutrients and pollutants from water," said Dr Calvert.

Wetland plants, particularly here in the tropics, have been regarded even by many trained and experienced botanists as difficult to identify. The new publication is not just a guide for those wanting to appreciate the contribution of wetlands and wetland plants to the biodiversity of the Wet Tropics, it is a valuable resourcefor landholders, community organisations, industry and natural resource managers to improve land management outcomes.

Phillip Trendell, Senior Project Officer at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, says people make better decisions when they are better informed or more involved.

“This new book is just one of the resources that can help people connect to their local wetlands and gain a better understanding of what is growing there, the special features they might have and the role it plays in the wider ecosystem.”

Along with the user-friendly plant identification tools, the guide provides detail about the ecological roles of wetlands and wetland plants, their ability to cope with environmental stresses, the impact of wetland weeds, and the cultural values and traditional uses of wetland plants by Traditional Owners of the area.

Wetland Plants of the Wet Tropics is an invaluable contribution to the literature on Australian plants and environmental management. The world of wetland plants has never looked so identifiable!

Click here to access an e-version (27MB).

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