Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 233–242 | Cite as

Managing mosquitoes without destroying wetlands: an eastern Australian approach

Original Paper


Recognising both the importance of intertidal wetlands and their role in mosquito-borne disease we discuss wise management to conserve wetland values and to reduce vector borne disease health risks. First we summarise the mosquito-borne diseases associated with intertidal wetlands in sub-tropical and tropical Australia. We consider the Ramsar Strategic Plan, its reflection in some key Australian statutes and the relationship between environment-focussed legislation and health legislation. This is followed by a brief overview of mosquito control and its impact on human health. Using a salt marsh example of an integrated process, we describe the development of what was, in the 1980s in Australia, a novel method of habitat modification (runnelling) for mosquito control. Runnelling modifies the tidal water flow on salt marshes, reducing mosquito larval numbers and minimising environmental impacts. The approach is related to two of the Ramsar goals (wise use and institutional capacity and effectiveness). We then describe the extension of its rationale to a complex mangrove system. Finally, with a concept model, we consider the convergence between minimal habitat modification for wetland conservation and human health protection using an interdisicplinary approach involving multiple stakeholders.


Australia Ramsar Saltwater mosquito Salt marsh Mangroves Mosquito-borne disease Human health 


  1. Dale PER (2000) Integrated water management for insect vector control. In: Fisher DE, McNamara N (eds) Integrated water and land management, essays on comparative approaches to the integration of land and water management. QUT Publications and Printing, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 437–453Google Scholar
  2. Dale PER (2008) Assessing impacts of habitat modification on a subtropical salt marsh: 20 years of monitoring. Wetl Ecol Manag 16:77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dale PER, Hulsman K (1988) To identify impacts in variable systems using anomalous changes: a salt marsh example. Vegetatio 75:27–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dale PER, Hulsman K (1990) A critical-review of salt-marsh management methods for mosquito-control. Crit Rev Aquat Sci 3:281–311Google Scholar
  5. Dale PER, Knight JM (2006) Managing salt marshes for mosquito control: impacts of runnelling, open marsh water management and grid-ditching in sub-tropical Australia. Wetl Ecol Manag 14:211–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dale P, Knight J (2008) Wetlands and mosquitoes: a review. Wetl Ecol Manag 16:255–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dale PER, Hulsman K, Harrison D, Congdon B (1986) Distribution of the immature stages of Aedes vigilax on a coastal salt marsh in South East Queensland. Aust J Ecol 11:269–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dale PER, Dale PT, Hulsman K, Kay BH (1993) Runnelling to control saltmarsh mosquitoes: long-term efficacy and environmental impacts. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 9:174–181PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Dale PER, Chandica AL, Evans M (1996) Using image subtraction and classification to evaluate change in subtropical intertidal wetlands. Int J Remote Sens 17:703–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dale PER, Chapman H, Brown MD, Ritchie SA, Knight J, Kay BH (2002a) Does habitat modification affect oviposition by the salt marsh mosquito, Ochlerotatus vigilax (Skuse) (Diptera: Culicidae)? Aust J Entomol 41:49–54 (note: Oc. vigilax name change from Ae.vigilax was subsequently reversed)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dale MB, Dale PER, Li C, Biswas G (2002b) Assessing impacts of small perturbations using a model-based approach. Ecol Model 156:185–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dale PER, Carlson DB, Easton C (2008a) 4 degrees of latitude: mosquito control on the “right” coasts of Florida and Australia. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 24:427–437PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dale PER, Knight JM, Kay BH, Chapman H, Ritchie SA, Brown MD (2008b). Habitat characteristics and eggshell distribution of the salt marsh mosquito, Aedes vigilax, in marshes in subtropical eastern Australia. J Insect Sci 8:25. doi:10.1673/031.008.2501
  14. Dale PER, Dale MB, Dowe DL, Knight JM, Lemckert CJ, Choy DCL, Sheaves MJ, Sporne I (2010) A conceptual model for integrating physical geography research and coastal wetland management, with an Australian example. Prog Phys Geogr 34:605–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Department of Employment Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) (2010) Code for self-assessable development: minor impact works in a declared fish habitat area or involving the removal, destruction or damage of marine plants. Code number: MP06 Dec 2010. http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/documents/Fisheries_Habitats/MP06-Minor-impact-works.pdf. Accessed 23 May 2012
  16. Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) (2011) Operational policy, pest management: mosquito and biting midge controlGoogle Scholar
  17. Durre R, Dale P, Standfast H, Russell R, Morris C (eds) (2009) Australian mosquito control manual, 3rd edn. Australian Mosquito Control Association Inc, Gold coastGoogle Scholar
  18. Ghosh D, Guha R (2011) Using a neural network for mining interpretable relationships of West Nile risk factors. Soc Sci Med 72(3):418–429PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Government Queensland (2010) Queensland joint strategic framework for mosquito management 2010–2015. Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Unit Communicable Diseases Branch Division of the Chief Health Officer Queensland Health, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  20. Horwitz P, Finlayson CM (2011) Wetlands as settings for human health: incorporating ecosystem services and health impact assessment into water resource management. Bioscience 61:678–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hu W, Mengerson K, Tong S, Dale P (2010) Difference in mosquito species and the transmission of Ross River virus between coastline and inland areas in Brisbane, Australia. Environ Entomol 39:88–97PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hughes L, McMichael T (2011) The critical decade: climate change and health. Climate Commission Secretariat (Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) Commonwealth Government, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  23. Hulsman K, Dale PER, Kay BH (1989) The runneling method of habitat modification—an environment-focused tool for salt-marsh mosquito management. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 5:226–234PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. IPCC (2007) Intergovernmental panel on climate change, Fourth Assessment Report. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)Google Scholar
  25. Knight JM (2008) Characterising the biophysical properties of a mangrove forest to inform mosquito control. PhD thesis, University of Queensland, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  26. Knight JM (2011) A model of mosquito-mangrove basin ecosystems with implications for management. Ecosystems 14:1382–1395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Knight JM, Dale PER, Dunn RJK, Broadbent GJ, Lemckert CJ (2008) Patterns of tidal flooding within a mangrove forest: Coombabah Lake, Southeast Queensland, Australia. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 76(3):580–593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Knight J, Dale P, Griffin L, Spencer J (2009) Exploring Lidar data for mapping the micro-topography and tidal hydrodynamics of mangrove systems: an example from south-east Queensland Australia. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 85:593–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Knight JM, Griffin L, Dale P, Phinn S (2012) Oviposition and larval habitat preferences of the saltwater mosquito, Aedes vigilax, in a subtropical mangrove forest in Queensland, Australia. J Insect Sci 12(6). Available online: insectscience.org/12.6
  30. Local Government Association of Queensland Inc (2002) Mosquito management code of practice. Queensland Government, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  31. Lynch AAA (2011) The usefulness of a threat and disturbance categorization developed for Queensland wetlands to environmental management, monitoring, and evaluation. Environ Manag 47:40–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: wetlands and water synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  33. Pittock J, Finlayson M, Gardner A, McKay C (2010) Changing character: the Ramsar convention on wetlands and climate change in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. Environ Plan Law J 27:401–425Google Scholar
  34. Ramsar (2008) The Changwon Declaration. Conference of contracting parties. Changwon, 28 Oct–4 Nov 2008. www.ramsar.org/pdf/cop10/cop10_changwon_english.pdf. Accessed 29 Nov 2011
  35. Ramsar (2012) The Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance. (http://www.ramsar.org/cda/en/ramsar-documents-list/main/ramsar/1-31-218_4000_0). Accessed 16 Apr 2012
  36. Ramsar (2012b) The Ramsar convention and its mission. http://www.ramsar.org/cda/en/ramsar-about-mission/main/ramsar/1-36-53_4000_0__. Accessed 16 Apr 2012
  37. Ramsar (2012c) The Ramsar strategic plan 2009–2015. http://www.ramsar.org/pdf/key_strat_plan_2009_e.pdf. Accessed 16 Apr 2012
  38. Rochlin I, Iwanejko T, Dempsey ME, Ninivaggi DV (2009) Geostatistical evaluation of integrated marsh management impact on mosquito vectors using before–after-control-impact (BACI) design. Int J Health Geogr 8:35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Russell RC (2002) Ross River virus: ecology and distribution. Annu Rev Entomol 47:1–31PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sipe NG, Dale PER (2003) A framework for developing integrated environmental management to minimise risk of mosquito-borne disease: environmental science and Ross River virus disease. Appl Environ Sci Public Health 1:139–144Google Scholar
  41. Stevens P (2010) Embedment in the environment: a new paradigm for well-being? Perspect Public Heal 130:265–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tomerini D (2007) The impact of local government mosquito control programs on Ross River virus disease in Queensland, Australia. PhD thesis, Griffith University, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  43. Tomerini DM, Dale PE, Sipe N (2011) Does mosquito control have an effect on mosquito-borne disease? the case of Ross River Virus disease and mosquito management in Queensland, Australia. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 27:39–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Futures CentreGriffith School of Environment, Griffith University, NathanBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Rivers InstituteGriffith School of Environment, Griffith University, NathanBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations