Video Image & Data Capture
MangroveWatch relies primarily on assessment of video imagery of shoreline habitats collected by community volunteers and indigenous locals. These data are sent to the Mangrove Hub for analysis. The shoreline habitat assessment methodology was developed specifically for the MangroveWatch program to enable any participant to easily collect reliable information in a standardised & practical format.
The primary objective was to ensure that data acquisition was easy to do, cost effective, fun and did not require complex scientific knowledge by the collectors. Data collection has provided improved knowledge and awareness of tidal wetland ecosystems for participants along with greater area ownership and advocacy, coupled with scientifically relevant outputs.
S-VAM as used by MangroveWatch participants 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 collection enables these features to be mapped to give spatial representation of both the 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.
Organisational Structure of MangroveWatch
MangroveWatch is organised around a central Hub – primarily based at the TropWATER Centre’s MangroveWatch Hub at James Cook University (JCU). The aim is to outsource and train further regional Hubs like that in Florida USA. The JCU Hub is made up of researchers and student volunteers who analyse estuary footage and process information from a number of MangroveWatch groups, initiate participant outreach/engagement, and handle communication with the general public as well as our financial supporters.
Participants usually form small groups based in a regional node area – like Cairns, Torres Straits, Normanton, Borroloola, Burnett Mary Region, or Moreton Bay – and who collect data after receiving training and equipment from the JCU Hub. See MangroveWatchers for details of our more active groups.
Data collection usually includes continuous footage of estuarine shorelines, other photos along surveyed shorelines, GPS tracks, and observational notes. A central coordinator and kit keeper for each group are responsible for communication with the Hub and maintaining equipment in their MangroveWatch kit.
Conceptual diagram showing the relationships and functioning of MangroveWatch
How does MangroveWatch work?
MangroveWatch does not rely on having membership. As such, it is less of a member organization, and more of a scientifically-endorsed methodology that can be applied by existing organizations.
The MangroveWatch Methodology is available to all those who believe there is a better way to manage local shorelines and estuaries – like environmental groups, local community organisations, and indigenous associations. For the groups currently using MangroveWatch monitoring: see MangroveWatchers!.