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Understanding the recruitment biology of vegetation communities on saline soils

Carey, M., Bell, R.W., Hobbs, R.J. and Meney, K. (2003) Understanding the recruitment biology of vegetation communities on saline soils. In: National Dryland Salinity Program : inspiration, celebration, aspiration : an R&D workshop recognising the achievements of NSDP Phase 2, 25 - 26 March, Adelaide, SA, Australia pp. 76-77.

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Abstract

Salinity levels in riparian wetlands and the ground water under adjacent plant communities are rising and destroying large areas of remnant vegetation. Remnants along drainage lines are particularly vulnerable to hydrological change. Many of southwest Australia's rivers are associated with low gradients and deeply weathered landscapes in which salt has accumulated over tens of thousands of years. Plant communities, such as those associated with yate (Eucalyptus occidentalis), persist along these naturally saline rivers in the upper tributaries of the Gairdner River, where this project is based.

Information on plant communities existing on naturally occuring saline soil, and their regeneration and restoration potential is limited. Vegetation response to salinity along saline drainage lines has also received little attention. An understanding of recruitment strategies and vegetation health, structure and diversity of plant communities in saline soils will help improve restoration plans for land affected by secondary salinity and waterlogging. The project hopes to develop a greater ecological understanding of vegetation affected by dryland salinity and waterlogging at plant community scale. Information on the impact of salinity and waterlogging on yate woodland will ensure that management strategies are developed that consider specific soil and water thresholds necessary to maintain functioning ecosystems. A conceptual model can be developed that is able to identify safe soil and water regimes for yate woodlands, with the potential for use in other similar woodland, shrubland and samphire communities.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: National Dryland Salinity Program
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/18919
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