Max Finlayson GippslandLakes Presentation


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  • Max Finlayson GippslandLakes Presentation

    1. 1. <ul><li>Ramsar & the Gippsland Lakes </li></ul>Max Finlayson Director, Institute for Land, Water & Society Charles Sturt University, Albury
    2. 2. Ramsar Convention on Wetlands <ul><li>International, non-UN agreement between governments (contracting parties) </li></ul><ul><li>Text agreed in 1971 in city of Ramsar, Iran </li></ul><ul><li>Convention came into effect in 1975 – Australia first signatory in 1974 </li></ul><ul><li>Now 158 country members </li></ul><ul><li>1822 sites listed </li></ul>
    3. 3. Contracting Parties accept obligations under the text of the Convention and from formal Resolutions passed at triennial meetings – Australia has agreed to these; not imposed The Convention's mission is the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world
    4. 4. <ul><li>List one wetland as internationally importance - 65 sites; 47 incomplete documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Make wise use of ALL wetlands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- piece-meal inventory underway since early 1990s; new proposal to undertake national inventory effort </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maintain ecological character of ALL wetlands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- originally referred to listed sites only; very doubtful this is happening for sites listed as inter important let alone other wetlands </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Cooperate with neighbouring countries especially for managing shared wetlands </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- generally thought to refer to physical location, but also refers to wetlands used by migratory species, eg waterbirds </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Inform the Convention if adverse change occurs on listed wetlands </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- substantive claims that a number of Australian sites seem to have undergone or are under-going adverse change; e.g. Coorong, Macquarie ….. Gippsland? </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Wetlands of international importance – listed against 9 criteria agreed by the Convention Gippsland Lakes listed - 15 Dec 1982 based on 4 criteria: - good representative example of wetland characteristic of the biogeographical region - regularly supports 20,000 waterbirds - regularly supports substantial numbers of waterbirds from particular groups - regularly supports 1% on the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies
    7. 7. <ul><li>– Ramsar sites should be covered by an appropriate and current management plan – Gippsland strategy 2002 (?) </li></ul><ul><li>linked with catchment/regional planning mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>ensures wise use of the wetland and maintenance of its ecological character (including restoration if necessary) </li></ul><ul><li>based on best available knowledge; includes adaptive management and monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>involves adequate community engagement, involvement, consultation, reporting ….. </li></ul>Management planning – Gippsland Lakes
    8. 8. <ul><li>Ecological character of listed wetlands described in a Ramsar Information Sheet that should be updated every 6 years or when the ecological character changes </li></ul><ul><li>Ramsar Information Sheet for Gippsland Lakes dated 1999 ; information currently being updated </li></ul><ul><li>Size – 60,015 ha – map not supplied (as required) </li></ul><ul><li>Different wetland types – multiple benefits and values </li></ul><ul><li>- coastal, brackish/saline lagoons </li></ul><ul><li>- permanent saline/brackish/alkaline marshes/pools </li></ul><ul><li>- permanent freshwater marshes/pools </li></ul>Ecological character – Gippsland lakes
    9. 9. Biological Physical Chemical Regulating Cultural Supporting Provisioning Ecosystem Components and Processes Ecosystem Services Ecological character is the combination of the ecological components , processes and ecosystem services that characterize the wetland This links biodiversity with wetland use – water & land use, such as agriculture and fisheries
    10. 11. Sites undergoing or likely to undergo adverse change in ecological character: – bring to attention of Ramsar Secretariat ( Article 3.2 ) e.g. Coorong & Lower Lakes, SA – can also place them on Montreux Record to draw attention to their plight, attract support/funds to restore, invoke a Ramsar Advisory Mission - adding them to or taking them off the Record is a voluntary process by country; Convention’s technical panel provides advice when taking them off the Record Ethical / legal obligation – processes good for our wetlands Reporting adverse change in ecological character
    11. 12. Condition – status/trends of ecological character of Gippsland Lakes <ul><li>Ecological components </li></ul><ul><li>- Waterbird species </li></ul><ul><li>Fish </li></ul><ul><li>Shell-fish </li></ul><ul><li>Seagrass </li></ul><ul><li>Algae </li></ul><ul><li>Salinity </li></ul><ul><li>Sediments </li></ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul><ul><li>Habitats </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological processes </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrogen / phosphorus cycles </li></ul><ul><li>Water flows – fresh and tidal </li></ul><ul><li>Salinity / temp stratification </li></ul><ul><li>Reproduction / pollination </li></ul><ul><li>Ecosystem services </li></ul><ul><li>Fishing / Recreation / Tourism </li></ul><ul><li>Aesthetic / Spiritual </li></ul><ul><li>Hydrologic functions </li></ul><ul><li>Freshwater supply </li></ul><ul><li>Erosion control / sedimentation </li></ul><ul><li>Water purification </li></ul><ul><li>Storm / flood buffering </li></ul>
    12. 13. Integrated multi-scalar wetland analyses INVENTORY MONITORING Broad-scale Site-specific Modelling & Research Consultation & Communication Broad-scale Site-specific ASSESSMENT Risk Assessment Vulnerability Assess Environmental Impact Assess Strategic Environmental Assess Rapid Biological Assess
    13. 14. <ul><li>Undertake for key parts of ecological character – indicators for ecological components, processes & ecosystem services </li></ul>Determine limits of acceptable change
    14. 15. <ul><li>Four states recognised for Australian inland wetlands – hard to reverse: </li></ul><ul><li>I Clear, aquatic plant dominated </li></ul><ul><li>II Clear, benthic microbial community dominated </li></ul><ul><li>III Turbid, sediment dominated </li></ul><ul><li>IV Turbid, phytoplankton dominated </li></ul><ul><li>Where are we with the Gippsland Lakes? </li></ul>Change in ecological condition
    15. 16. Responses – things to do or do better <ul><li>Ongoing community consultation, awareness, involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated inventory, assessment & monitoring of all parts of ecological character </li></ul><ul><li>Establish conceptual models of ecological character and drivers of change </li></ul><ul><li>Identify likely scenarios and confirm likely changes (limits) and ecological state (acceptability) </li></ul>
    16. 17. Responses cont. <ul><li>Cross sectoral management / catchment scale – wise use principles - contained within the current management plan </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change – require vulnerability assessment and adaptation measures </li></ul><ul><li>Consider all Ramsar obligations/requirements – provide documentation and support management; consider Article 3.2 and Montreux listing ….. latter has not been policy </li></ul>
    17. 18. Projected temperatures during 21st C are significantly higher than at any time during the last 1000 years
    18. 19. Vegetation of the Arctic: current conditions and projected changes under the IS92a scenario for 2090-2100 Climate change - expecting further changes in response to atmospheric emissions
    19. 20. Climate change - projected impacts <ul><li>Climate change will affect wetlands and their species e.g. through biological responses to changes in temperature, rainfall, water regimes, salinity … </li></ul><ul><li>Wetlands play important roles in the global cycling of water, and the storage and cycling of carbon gases – these cycles will be affected by climate change </li></ul>
    20. 21. Changes in c limate have already begun to affect wetland biodiversity <ul><li>Frequency and impacts of disturbances (fires, storms, droughts etc)…. </li></ul><ul><li>Timing of growing season, migrations, reproduction …. </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in pest/disease outbreaks/vectors </li></ul><ul><li>Affects noted in high latitude and high altitude systems; increased coral bleaching; change in bird movements ….. </li></ul>
    21. 22. <ul><li>Thank-you </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledgements </li></ul><ul><li>Colleagues involved in different analyses and assessments, and for the provision of information used in the talk, including from the IPCC, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, DEWHA & Ramsar STRP, Eckhardt Kuijken, as well as members of community organisations supporting efforts to maintain the ecological character of the Gippsland lakes. </li></ul>