A rapid method for assessing the condition of Riparian zones in the wet/dry tropics of Northern Australia

A rapid method for assessing the condition of Riparian zones in the wet/dry tropics of Northern Australia

Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsDixon, I, Douglas, MM, Dowe, J, Burrows, D, Townsend, SA
EditorRutherford, ID, Wiszniewski, I, MA, A-D, Glazik, R
Conference Name4th Australian Stream Management Conference
Date Published19-22 October, 2005
PublisherDepartment of Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Conference LocationLauncestonHobart, Tasmania
ISBN Number0724663360

The health of riparian habitats across northern Australia is becoming increasingly important to its diverse land management community. Assessing, protecting and improving the condition of riparian habitats has been and will continue to be a major activity focus of regional planing in northern Australia. However, a lack of information on assessing the health of savanna riparian zones has resulted in little evaluation of the effectiveness of existing programs or the prioritisation of works for future programs. Many methods already exist to assess riparian health, but their application is often limited to specific areas or projects and purposes. Consideration of the vast river lengths present in northern Australia, often in remote areas, led us to develop a rapid appraisal method suitable for trained non-specialists to assess savanna riparian health. The method is being applied across northern Queensland and the Northern Territory and is comprised of attributes of vegetation cover, woody debris, weediness, native plant regeneration and evidence of disturbance. It is based on methods developed by Werren and Arthington (2002) and Jansen et al. (2004) and has been modified for the different conditions of northern Australia. It provides a consistent approach across large geographic areas and should help to assess and improve management of savanna riparian zones in pastoral, mixed use and conservation managed lands across northern Australia.



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