The threats to the ecological character of the Kakadu National Park Ramsar site varies greatly across multiple spatial and temporal scales and in terms of their potential severity. Major threats are summarised in Table 5 -23 and are discussed below. In characterising the key threats outlined in Table 5 -23, the consequence of individual threats were assessed based on categories presented in Table 5 -24.
Table 5 23 Summary of major threats to the Kakadu National Park Ramsar site
Potential impacts to wetlands
Proliferation/ introduction of exotic flora
Continuing impacts from presence and proliferation of key wetland weed species such as mimosa, salvinia, para grass and olive hymenachne.
Continuing impacts from cane toads, pigs, buffalo and other invasive species into wetland habitats and negative impacts on the populations of wetland-dependant species.
Short- to long-term
Climate change –Increased saltwater intrusion from sea level rise
Increased rates of saltwater intrusion and loss of predominant freshwater wetland areas; associated loss of species diversity and habitat and associated ecological and cultural values associated with these areas.
Climate change –Changes to mangrove distribution from sea level rise
Increased proliferation of mangroves at the expense of saltmarsh and Melaleuca communities; possible loss of existing mangrove communities in foreshore and lower estuary zones due to increased sea level rise and water-logging; associated loss of species diversity and habitat and associated ecological and cultural values associated with these areas.
Changes to rates of evaporation and increased drought conditions leading to change in wetland inundation regimes and increased risks of wetland damage from more intense fires.
Medium to high
Medium- to long-term
Tourism and recreational activities
Disturbance to flora and fauna; litter and waste production, water pollution, damage to archaeological sites/materials, restriction on private cultural activities, impacts to habitats by boats..
Short- to medium-term
Release of radionuclides and other pollutants into surface and/or groundwater and associated ecological effects and possible human health effects in terms of bioaccumulation in bush tucker species, potential damage to culturally significant sites.