MangroveWatch relies primarily on video assessment of shoreline habitats collected by community volunteers and sent to the Hub for analysis. A shoreline habitat assessment method was specifically designed for the MangroveWatch program to enable community volunteers to easily collect information in a standardized format. The primary objective in designing this method was to ensure it was easy to do, cost effective, fun and did not require complex scientific observations by the volunteers, whilst still providing improved knowledge and awareness of tidal wetland ecosystems for volunteers, as well as scientifically relevant outputs.
The Shoreline Video Assessment Method (SVAM) used by MangroveWatch volunteers relies on qualitative assessments of shoreline habitat, physical condition and human influence, determined from continuous video recordings of the shoreline and intertidal zone along coastline/estuary banks. The video is analysed for a number of features that relate to the ‘condition’ of the coast. Simultaneous GPS data enables these features to be mapped to give a spatial representation of shoreline habitats and their condition. Qualitative interpretations made during analysis are based on quantitative baseline studies. Video interpretation relates only to the intertidal zone and up to 20 m above the tidal limit.