Saltmarsh in Moreton Bay and South East Queensland often forms distinct zones dependent upon elevation, salinity, soil moisture and soil type. Changes to saltmarsh topography and sediment quality can have a significant impact on plant community and structure. These changes to plant community structure and condition can have an impact on the habitat complexity and productivity which can then affect the value of the saltmarsh as a fish and shorebird habitat. Some of the actions which can cause these changes include:
- The impact of various vehicles (4WD's and motorbikes etc)
- Excessive trampling (livestock and humans)
- Change to the hydrology (e.g. land filling, stormwater drainage, infrastructure)
It is therefore important to monitor the effect of disturbance on saltmarsh vegetation, particularly the amount of cover and its general health or condition. Monitoring vegetation cover through the use of set transects and quadrats are one method for determining the quality of the saltmarsh habitat. By recording the cover and health of vegetation along a transect scientists are able to determine and track the health of the saltmarsh. This information can be used to measure the impact of any disturbance and also enable recommendations to be made in terms of rehabilitating the saltmarsh area.