Riparian woodland dysfunction is driven by groundwater decline in a northern Murray-Darling intensive production landscape

Reardon-Smith, Kate and Le Brocque, Andy and House, Alan (2010) Riparian woodland dysfunction is driven by groundwater decline in a northern Murray-Darling intensive production landscape. In: Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA 2010): Sustaining Biodiversity - the next 50 Years , 6-10 Dec 2010, Canberra, Australia.

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Abstract

Altered hydrological regimes are significant drivers of ecosystem change in riverine, riparian and floodplain ecosystems. This study has found that declining condition in Eucalyptus camaldulensis/E. tereticornis riparian woodlands of the highly-modified Upper Condamine floodplain, southern Queensland, is predominantly linked to falling groundwater levels associated with extraction for irrigation. Evidence of dieback in this species complex increases with groundwater depth falling below 13-16m, and community composition (functional group diversity) is strongly associated with both groundwater depth and tree condition. These findings contrast with studies in Murray River floodplain woodlands where poor tree health is associated with soil salinisation associated with rising water tables and/or altered flood regimes. Results from this study are summarized in a semi-quantitative State-and-Transition resilience model, identifying critical thresholds for the persistence of this essentially groundwater-dependent ecosystem. Such systems, currently existing close to ecological thresholds, contribute significantly to our understanding of how ecological systems respond to change, and of how major disturbances such as climate change may play out across landscapes.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Unrefereed paper, and is not available.
Depositing User: Dr Andrew Le Brocque
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2011 00:04
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2013 23:43
Uncontrolled Keywords: riparian woodland; dysfuntion; groundwater decline; Murray-Darling
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070102 Agricultural Land Planning
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/18352

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