Mangroves and associated communities

Mangroves are at a heightened risk from exotic pests and diseases as they frequently grow around ports and airports that process cargo and ships from all over the world.

Tourists, itinerant boats, wind pathways, migratory birds and the illegal import of plant material also pose a biosecurity risk to mangroves.


Mangroves and associated communities are of significant ecological and economic value as they provide:

  • support to the healthy functioning of many coastal, offshore and estuarine habitats by filtering and purify the water of floodplains and rivers.
  • protection to surrounding coral reefs by catching and slowing down sediment and agricultural chemical runoff.
  • resilience to coastlines against extreme weather events like cyclones and rising sea levels.
  • protection against erosion as the dense community of plants stabilise the shoreline.
  • habitats for native aquatic and bird life.
  • breeding grounds for many prawn, crab, bird and fish species, in fact, around two thirds of fish consumed worldwide is dependent on mangrove ecosystems.


Understanding the complex mix of stakeholders and biosecurity risks related to mangroves and their associated communities is the first step in identifying a coordinated way forward. To achieve this the project will:

  • identify and engage the stakeholders of mangrove ecosystem case studies in Newcastle, Cairns and the Northern Territory.
  • identify the risks and risk pathways of biosecurity threats to mangroves and their associated communities.
  • investigate risk mitigation options appropriate to the stakeholders for each of the identified biosecurity risks.
  • provide recommendations to the Commonwealth to improve the biosecurity preparedness for the protection of mangroves and their associated communities for the future.

Improvements to mangrove biosecurity will benefit stakeholders in community, industry and government. To identify the best way to make these improvements Plant Health Australia staff will spend time travelling to various parts of Australia to visit key stakeholders.