Wetland views surveyed
Researchers have reviewed the wellbeing benefits of wetlands.
Australians love their beaches, but a new study has confirmed the broad appeal of other coastal assets such as tidal wetlands, nature trails and protected areas including bird and dolphin sanctuaries.
Flinders University environment and marine ecology experts have conducted an Adelaide-based survey of how residents connect with and rate the attributes of Adelaide’s northern metropolitan coastal wetlands, from Torrens Island to Thompson Beach.
The findings show a strong appreciation of the natural features of these coastal places, with study participants rating them highly – and identifying their importance for personal wellbeing which underpins a need for closer controls on further development or degradation of these important community spaces, researchers say.
“People who visited the study region for recreation and work identified a personal bond with the places like Adelaide’s Dolphin Sanctuary, the International Bird Sanctuary and St Kilda Mangrove Trail and other coastal national parks and coastal features situated so close to the city – added reasons to take good care of these precious resources,” says lead author, Flinders University geographer Associate Professor Beverley Clarke.
“Translating the benefits people receive from coastal ecosystems in a way that is usable to policy-makers and environmental managers is important but challenging,” says Associate Professor Clarke.
“Here we have been able to document health and wellbeing benefits expressed by the people who experience these places. As well as simply appreciating the natural landscape, it is through their activities that citizens developed an attachment to the coastline.”
The researchers note that building awareness of the social benefits of restoring these sometimes under-appreciated wetlands may help generate support for protecting - rather than developing - these threatened landscapes.