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.
|Title of host publication||4th Australian Stream Management Conference|
|Subtitle of host publication||linking rivers to landscapes|
|Editors||I.D. Rutherfurd, I. Wiszniewski, M J Askey- Askey-Doran, R. Glazik|
|Place of Publication||Hobart, Tasmania|
|Publisher||Department of primary Industries, Water and Environment|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|
|Event||Australian Stream Management Conference - Launceston, Tasmania, Australia|
Duration: 19 Oct 2004 → 22 Oct 2004
|Conference||Australian Stream Management Conference|
|Period||19/10/04 → 22/10/04|
Jansen, A. (2005). Rapid appraisal of riparian condition: scaling up from on-ground measurement to remote sensing. In I. D. Rutherfurd, I. Wiszniewski, M. J. A. Askey-Doran, & R. Glazik (Eds.), 4th Australian Stream Management Conference: linking rivers to landscapes (pp. 313-319). Department of primary Industries, Water and Environment.