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Simulating plant function along naturally saline rivers to restore plant communities affected by secondary salinisation

Carey, M.H., Bell, R.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-7756-3755, Hobbs, R.J. and Meney, K.A. (2000) Simulating plant function along naturally saline rivers to restore plant communities affected by secondary salinisation. In: International Conference of the Society for Restoration Ecology (SER 2000) : Reflections on the Past - Directions for the Future, 4 - 7 September, Liverpool, UK.


Extensive clearance of deep rooted vegetation in southern Australia has reduced transpiration, allowed water to accumulate beyond the root zone and subsequently raised water tables. Secondary salinization occurs when soil salts dissolve in rising groundwater and concentrate in surface seepage particularly along drainage lines. Such hydrological change has meant that plant communities along drainage lines can no longer function in these dramatically altered landscapes. Many of Australia’s south west rivers are associated with low gradients and ancient drainage lines in which salt has accumulated over thousands of years. These soils have allowed plant communities, such as yate (Eucalyptus occidentalis) woodlands, to function along naturally saline rivers. We examined the potential of using the responses of these woodlands to increasing salinisation to guide restoration efforts in areas subject to secondary salinisation. The survival requirements of plant species typical of yate woodlands along naturally saline rivers were examined to determine if recent changes in hydrology and salinity affect yate woodlands and how various parts of the woodland respond. From this we were able to assess the consequences of hydrological change for the plant communities occurring in naturally saline areas, and to determine what components of the community could potentially be used in broad-scale restoration efforts in landscapes subject to secondary salinisation.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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