Rapid appraisal of riparian condition: scaling up from on-ground measurement to remote sensing.

Amy Jansen

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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Riparian habitats are critical components of a catchment, supporting high levels of biodiversity and controlling flows of energy and nutrients between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Given the role of riparian areas within catchments, and their extensive degradation in Australia, there is a need for improved management of these areas. A baseline for improved management is an understanding of current condition, and the factors which determine this. Thus there is a need for a rapid method of measuring riparian condition, both to enable assessment of multiple sites in a catchment and to investigate relationships with current management practices. This project focused on developing a rapid appraisal method to assess riparian condition. I chose indicators to reflect functional aspects of the physical, community and landscape features of the riparian zone. The Rapid Appraisal of Riparian Condition (RARC) index is made up of five sub-indices, each with a number of indicator variables. The RARC has been trialled extensively in south-eastern Australia, and has been validated against detailed measures of the biodiversity and function of riparian zones. Recently, I have been working on 'scaling-up' the method so that it can be used at the catchment scale. Analyses suggest that at least three-quarters of the variance in riparian condition measured on-ground could potentially be determined from remotely sensed data. Testing is being carried out in the Goulburn-Broken catchment in Victoria, the Mt Lofty ranges in South Australia and the upper Murrumbidgee catchment in NSW, where on-ground data has been collected at a large number of sites. Measurement of canopy cover in riparian zones, from remotely sensed data, can explain around two-thirds of the variance in on-ground RARC scores. Thus there is good potential for assessing riparian condition at catchment scales, and facilitating prioritisation of restoration works aimed at improving riparian condition acrosscatchments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication4th Australian Stream Management Conference
Subtitle of host publicationlinking rivers to landscapes
EditorsI.D. Rutherfurd, I. Wiszniewski, M J Askey- Askey-Doran, R. Glazik
Place of PublicationHobart, Tasmania
PublisherDepartment of primary Industries, Water and Environment
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)0724663363
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventAustralian Stream Management Conference - Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Duration: 19 Oct 200422 Oct 2004


ConferenceAustralian Stream Management Conference


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