The purpose of DIWA is to present summary ecological and management information on Australia's important wetlands to assist in all levels of decision making.
A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DIWA) is an inventory of important wetland sites. It aims to prevent further loss of important wetland habitat through better understanding of wetland values and location. It was developed by the Australian Government and each of the State and Territory governments. It was first published in 1993 with updated editions in 1996 and 2001. The database and site maps are on line.
To be included in DIWA, a wetland must meet at least one of six criteria: biogeographic representativeness, important ecological or hydrological functions, provision of animal habitat during times of vulnerability or adverse conditions, support for more than 1% of national population of any taxa, support for any threatened taxa or communities; and historical or cultural significance.
Criteria groupings of the method
Criteria are based on the Ramsar criteria with adjustments for national rather than international importance and Australian conditions.
Representativeness is based on biogeographic regions.
Database fields include site location, area, wetland type, criteria for inclusion, site description, physical features, hydrological features, ecological features, significance, notable flora, notable fauna, social and cultural values, land tenure, current land use, disturbances or threats, conservation measures, management authority, compiler and date.
A team with expertise in wetland ecology, database management and GIS mapping is required to collate and collect new data and assess new sites.
GIS, database, field survey equipment
Database of important sites available at Australian Government's web site
GIS mapping of important sites
Environment Australia (2001) A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. Third Edition. Environment Australia. Canberra.
Characteristics of Important Wetlands in Queensland (1999)
To identify sites and the wetland values in the local area, particularly in regard to regional natural resource management
To identify sites of importance for particular taxa, including threatened and migratory species
To assist in making decisions on how wetland resources will be utilised
To provide a substantial basis for future national wetlands inventory.
Criteria by category
Physical and chemical
Adverse conditions e.g. drought refuge
Vulnerable stage in life cycle
Nationally rare or endangered taxa or communities
1% of national population of any taxa
Method to intended to be used by assessors with eological, flora, GIS and analysis experience.
Wetland managers, policy makers, regulators, NRM groups and landholders would find the output information useful.
State-wide information base
Accessible through the Internet
Significant coverage of important sites, although not comprehensive
Substantial knowledge base of wetlands, and dependent flora and fauna.
Information and assessment was not collected consistently across Queensland
Database may be considered biased as some areas were more intensively assessed than others
The process for identification of wetlands was not systematically conducted across Queensland and consequently many wetlands that would meet the criteria were not included
The mapping methodologies used were variable (as wetland mapping data did not exist at the time DIWA was compiled) including both aggregation mapping and the use of point data were used to describe where wetlands might exist but could not be accurately mapped
DIWA was compiled over several decades and information contained within the database may be out of date or the values may no longer exist
Blackman, JG, Perry, TW, Ford, GI, Craven, SA, Gardiner, SJ & De Lai, RJ (1999), Characteristics of Important Wetlands in Queensland, Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.
Last updated: 7 February 2019
This page should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2019) A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DIWA), WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 February 2023. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/resources/tools/assessment-search-tool/a-directory-of-important-wetlands-in-australia-diwa/