Australia’s saltmarsh ecosystems provided protection to thousands

Media Release

Saltmarsh ecosystems provided protection to more than 88,000 homes from potential storm surge damage, according to 2021 data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Peter Meadows, Director of Centre of Environmental and Satellite Accounts at the ABS, said the National Ocean Ecosystem Account data showed that saltmarsh ecosystems provided a range of benefits from climate relief to coastal protection in Australia.  

“Saltmarsh stored over 275 million tonnes of carbon in 2021, with carbon stores mostly held in the tropical regions of Queensland and the Northern Territory.

“This ecosystem has provided crucial protection services to over 150,000 people, safeguarding them from natural hazards such as storm surge associated flooding. With mangrove ecosystems also included, over 280,000 people are protected.”

The publication also highlighted the extent of saltmarsh and intertidal seagrass ecosystems, with approximately 388,000 hectares of intertidal seagrass existing across Australia in 2020.

“Queensland accounted for 31 per cent of Australia's intertidal seagrass, followed by Western Australia (23 per cent) and the Northern Territory (19 per cent),” Mr Meadows said.

The National Ocean Ecosystem Account is a joint project between the ABS and the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

Further information can be found in National Ocean Account, Experimental Estimates November 2022.

Media notes

  • This release is part of phase 2 of Australia’s first National Ocean Account. The National Ocean Account aims to support decision making about the sustainable use and management of blue carbon ecosystems.

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
Back to top of the page