Groundwater decline and climatic variability: Implications for groundwater linked agro-ecosystems

Le Brocque, Andrew F. and Kath, Jarrod and Reardon-Smith, Kate and Apan, Armando (2016) Groundwater decline and climatic variability: Implications for groundwater linked agro-ecosystems. In: 2016 Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference: Diversity: Pattern, Process and Prospects (ESA 2016), 29 Nov - 2 Dec 2016, Fremantle, WA, Australia.

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Chronic groundwater decline has become a significant issue in many agricultural landscapes. Remnant ecosystems in these landscapes are also impacted by climate change, which in some areas is predicted to intensify climatic extremes of drought and flooding. As water resources decline, the interplay between groundwater decline and climate change could be particularly important for many ecological communities. We investigated groundwater responses to climatic variability in an agricultural landscape in southern Queensland with a recent history of high climatic variability (intense drought and floods) and high rates of groundwater extraction. Trends in groundwater depths across 441 monitoring bores were calculated in different wet and dry climatic phases over a 27 year period from 1989 to 2015. Groundwater depth trends differed spatially and temporally across the different climatic phases. Some bores showed clear responses to climate (i.e. levels increased in wet phases and declined in dry phases), while others showed persistent declines in dry phases and no recovery in wet periods. Areas where groundwaters are persistently declining, and not recovering in wet periods, may be associated with areas of the landscape that will be increasingly vulnerable to future climate change and particularly intense droughts. Using this information on groundwater responses to climatic variability we are now assessing a range of ecological responses linked to groundwater to determine how the interplay between groundwater decline and climate variability affects the resilience of agro-ecosystems to climate change in this landscape.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Poster)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No electronic version held.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2017 03:39
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2018 03:26
Fields of Research : 06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts)
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments

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