26 September 2023

ABS finds money in the mangroves

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is promoting the economic benefits of mangrove forests as possible protectors of communities from natural hazards like floods and storms.

Commenting on the ABS report, the Bureau’s Director of Environment and Satellite Accounts, Jonathon Khoo said the National Ocean Account, Experimental Estimates report was the first time the ABS had released experimental information on some of the benefits provided by Australia’s oceans.

Mr Khoo said the National Ocean Account, a joint project between the ABS and the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, showed there was over a million hectares of mangrove forests and up to three million hectares of seagrass meadows in Australia in 2021.

“Mangroves and seagrasses play a large role in supporting communities,” Mr Khoo said.

“For example, mangroves protect over 18,000 kilometres or 30 per cent of Australia’s total coastline,” he said.

“That translates to safeguarding about 175,000 people from natural hazards like floods and storms.”

Alternatively, Mr Khoo said that using means other than mangroves to protect 85,000 homes could cost the community over $200 billion up front and up to $8 billion annually.

“Western Australia absorbs up to 2.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually or about 20 per cent of Australian sequestration from mangroves and seagrass,” he said.

“Meanwhile, South Australia can provide over 30 per cent of carbon removal services (sequestration) from seagrass meadows.”

The ABS Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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