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Measuring and modelling the impacts of land use on ecological river condition


Davies, PE and Magierowski, R and Read, S and Horrigan, N, Measuring and modelling the impacts of land use on ecological river condition, Landscape Logic: Integrating science for landscape management, CSIRO Publishing, T Lefroy, A Curtis, A Jakeman, J McKee (ed), Collingwood, VIC, Australia, pp. 23-37. ISBN 9780643103542 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2012 CSIRO

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This project aimed to understand the influence of land use and land management on the ecological condition ('health') of Tasmanian rivers at local and catchment scales. The five project phases were developing a conceptual model linking land use and other drivers to ecosystem responses, finding evidence to support model parameterisation, constructing a simplified river health model for communication purposes; developing a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) from the full conceptual model using both expert elicitation and local evidence, and evaluation of the BBN and modelling of management scenarios. A significant finding was a disturbance threshold associated with the area of a catchment upstream of a sampling point classed as 'grazing land', characterised by a change in algal-driven river metabolism and river macroinvertebrate communities. Understanding the spatial scales (site, reach, catchment) at which key drivers of ecological responses operated (e.g. riparian condition, sediment input) was also important. Project outcomes were incorporated into a decision support system containing the BBN, and into fact-sheets describing river health impacts of land use and management scenarios. Key lessons included the importance of a conceptual framework throughout the project, identifying relative inferential strength when integrating evidence for drivers. using both correlative and experimental data to identify relative roles of nutrients and fine sediment in driving benthic biological responses to land use, the need to manage drivers of river health at both catchment and local scales, defining management 'levers' connecting project design to deliverables, and maintaining an objective, adaptive scientific process when developing evidence-based management tools.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental assessment and monitoring
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Davies, PE (Professor Peter Davies)
UTAS Author:Magierowski, R (Dr Regina Magierowski)
UTAS Author:Horrigan, N (Dr Nelli Horrigan)
ID Code:77708
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2012-05-21
Last Modified:2014-10-14

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