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Accounting for the Drivers that Degrade and Restore Landscape Functions in Australia

Richard Thackway () and David Freudenberger ()
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Richard Thackway: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
David Freudenberger: Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia

Land, 2016, vol. 5, issue 4, 1-20

Abstract: Assessment and reporting of changes in vegetation condition at site and landscape scales is critical for land managers, policy makers and planers at local, regional and national scales. Land management, reflecting individual and collective values, is used to show historic changes in ecosystem structure, composition and function (regenerative capacity). We address the issue of how the resilience of plant communities changes over time as a result of land management regimes. A systematic framework for assessing changes in resilience based on measurable success criteria and indicators is applied using 10 case studies across the range of Australia’s agro-climate regions. A simple graphical report card is produced for each site showing drivers of change and trends relative to a reference state (i.e., natural benchmark). These reports enable decision makers to quickly understand and assimilate complex ecological processes and their effects on landscape degradation, restoration and regeneration. We discuss how this framework assists decision-makers explain and describe pathways of native vegetation that is managed for different outcomes, including maintenance, replacement, removal and recovery at site and landscape levels. The findings provide sound spatial and temporal insights into reconciling agriculture, conservation and other competing land uses.

Keywords: land management; ecosystem structure; composition; function; tracking change; monitoring; reporting; anthropogenic; transformation; plant communities; vegetation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q15 Q2 Q24 Q28 Q5 R14 R52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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