The relationships between a riparian rapid assessment methodlogy and terrestrial and aquatic attributes

  • Ian Dixon

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU


    Human land use can have detrimental impacts on stream health and adjacent riparian zones. This study aims to investigate relationships between land use and riparian zones to provide a basis for improved monitoring and better management. Localscale measures of riparian condition were examined for relationships with local- and catchment-scale measures of landscape attributes and water quality in the DarwinLitchfield- Bynoe region of the Northern Territory. Forty-one sites were surveyed in the 2005 dry season using the Tropical Rapid Appraisal of Riparian Condition (TRARC). The condition of riparian zones in the region was generally good and showed limited signs of anthropogenic disturbance. There were 25 weak correlations between riparian indicators and catchment-scale terrestrial attributes and 45 stronger correlations with local-scale terrestrial attributes. Correlations occurred with aquatic attributes; however these relationships were most likely influenced by soil type and land clearing, rather than riparian condition at a local-scale. Urban land use and vegetation clearing were linked with an increase in weeds, erosion and localised pressures in the riparian zone. Correlations were more common and stronger with individual indicators of riparian condition than combined groupings of indicators (sub-indices). Principal Components Analysis indicated that land clearing at a localscale was highly correlated with TRARC indicators and sub-indices and provided a useful method for presenting multi-metric data for interpretation by land managers. This study was the first of its kind to examine the correlations between the indicators of riparian condition used in the TRARC and other environmental variables. It provides baseline information for future monitoring of riparian condition in the region and recommends that future investigations need to consider covariance, spatial-scale and additional landscape features.

    Note: Score sheets-page 2 of 6 missing from original work
    Date of AwardOct 2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSimon Townsend (Supervisor) & Michael Douglas (Supervisor)

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