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Queensland wetland classification scheme

The Queensland Wetland Classification Scheme uses biological, physical and chemical characteristics to classify swamps (palustrine wetlands), lakes (lacustrine wetlands), rivers (riverine wetlands), and vegetated intertidal wetlands above mean sea level. The scheme follows the general wetland classification steps.

The attributes are included in the wetland mapping or can be derived from the underlying datasets which contribute to the wetland mapping.

Further information

Lake Numulla, Photo by DESI

Quick facts

stands for the Interim Australian National Aquatic Ecosystem (ANAE) Classification Framework. The Queensland wetland habitat classification scheme assisted with the cross-jurisdictional collaborations and was a key input to the development of the ANAE Classification Framework.  
Palustrine wetland (Slade Point Natural Resource Reserve, Slade Point). Photo by Gary Cranitch </br> © Queensland Museum
Lacustrine wetland (Lake Boomanjin) with tannin-stained water, K'gari (Fraser) Island. Photo by Gary Cranitch </br> © Queensland Museum
Riverine wetland (upper Noosa River). Photo by Gary Cranitch </br> © Queensland Museum
Interidal vegetated wetland (saltpan and mangroves on Curtis Island). Photo by Gary Cranitch </br> © Queensland Museum


The purpose of the Queensland wetland classification scheme (scheme) is to provide general attribute information for swamps (palustrine wetlands), lakes (lacustrine wetlands), rivers (riverine wetlands), and vegetated intertidal wetlands above mean sea level in Queensland based on hydro-geo-ecological drivers which has the potential for use in many different management applications. 

The scheme provides a transparent, scientifically robust and logical approach to developing foundational ecological information upon which management, decision making and research can be built.

The scheme is flexible to ensure that the attributes are relevant to a broad range of purposes, supporting the development of different typologies to address specific needs, such as a management question or research topic.

The scheme integrates with and complements other relevant state and national mapping, datasets and classification schemes. For example, it adapts and extends the Australian National Aquatic Ecosystem framework.


Advantages of the Queensland wetland classification scheme are:

  • The classification scheme is based on key attributes of the components and processes underpinning Queensland’s wetlands
  • It can be adapted to management needs and data availability.
  • The classification scheme was one of the key drivers for the ANAE and can be translated to other systems as it includes a descriptive list of attributes. This allows for consistency in reporting across jurisdictions and for data collected using other classification schemes to still be utilised.
  • The attributes for the components and processes that form the basis of this scheme can be effectively applied at a state-wide scale using wetland mapping and inventory in a Geographic Information System.
  • The classification scheme is effective for reporting at regional, state and national levels.
The classification supports the development of numerous typologies and can underpin all subsequent management guidelines, indicators, science syntheses, conceptual models, literature reviews and more.


The scheme can be applied at five levels—regional, subregion, seascape, habitat and community. For each spatial level there is a set of attributes across numerous themes. A detailed list of attributes is available to accommodate a wide range of uses. Application of the classification scheme at a particular level will depend on the availability of the underlying attribute data.

Attributes and qualifiers

Classification provides definitions and categorisation of attributes of the environment. The attributes and thresholds were chosen through extensive consultation with stakeholders as they represent some of the key drivers, based on wetland components and processes, for wetland habitat function.

Pages under this section

Last updated: 12 October 2022

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2022) Queensland wetland classification scheme, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation