Dr Andrew Swales is a Principal Scientist and Programme Leader (Catchments to Estuaries) based at NIWA’s Hamilton campus. He has 30 years research and consulting experience in the areas of estuarine sedimentary processes and biogeomorphology, resilience of coastal wetlands to sea level rise, sediment-source tracing for integrated catchment-to-estuary management and the biophysical effects of land use activities on estuaries. Andrew has an M.Sc. (Hons, Physical Geography) from the University of Auckland and a Ph.D. (Marine Science) from The University of Queensland
Future Coasts Aotearoa – informing adaption and restoration opportunities for coastal wetlands
Future Coasts Aotearoa (FCA) is a five-year research programme that aims to inform how the lowland rural communities and environments of Aotearoa New Zealand can adapt and prosper despite unavoidable sea level rise (SLR) over the coming decades. FCA is exploring the environmental, social, economic, and physical changes that lie ahead and how we can most effectively respond. Biophysical models of inundation and salinisation and coastal wetland evolution, underpinned by measurements, can inform land-use change decisions sensitive to flooding and salinisation at a national scale. Mana whenua research aspirations and world views are also interwoven into research activities through partnerships at case study sites. This presentation provides an overview of the research being undertaken to understand, and simulate, how coastal wetlands will respond under a range of possible SLR scenarios, their capacity to adapt and key environmental drivers. The insights flowing from this work will inform opportunities to restore coastal wetland ecosystems that have been degraded or largely lost due to reclamation and infrastructure development on estuarine margins as well as land clearance and development of pastoral agriculture in lowland catchments over the last 170 years.