Ecohydrology: vegetation function, water and resource by Derek Eamus, Tom Hatton, Peter Cook, Christine Colvin

By Derek Eamus, Tom Hatton, Peter Cook, Christine Colvin

Ecohydrology: plants functionality, Water and source administration describes and offers a synthesis of the several disciplines required to appreciate the sustainable administration of water within the setting in an effort to take on matters corresponding to dryland salinity and environmental water allocation. It presents within the one quantity the basics of plant ecophysiology, hydrology and ecohydrology as they relate to this subject. either conceptual foundations and box tools for the research of ecohydrology are supplied, together with chapters on groundwater based ecosystems, salinity and functional case experiences of ecohydrology. the significance of ecologically sustainable improvement and environmental allocations of water are defined in a bankruptcy dedicated to coverage and rules underpinning water source administration and their program to water and plants administration. A bankruptcy on modelling brings jointly the ecophysiological and hydrological domain names and compares a few versions which are utilized in ecohydrology. For the sustainable administration of water in Australia and in different places, this crucial reference paintings will support land managers, undefined, coverage makers, scholars and scientists in attaining the necessary knowing of water in landscapes.

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Australian vegetation is highly diverse at the species level and at the level of vegetation assemblage (ecosystem). There are about 20 000 species of higher plants in Australia and about 3000 vegetation types can be recognised. In addition, Australian vegetation has very high levels of endemism. Endemism is a measure of how many species are found only within Australia. About 85% of Australian plant species are endemic (found only in Australia). Australian vegetation is more diverse with a higher level of endemism than the flora of Europe and North America, for example.

Australian vegetation is more diverse with a higher level of endemism than the flora of Europe and North America, for example. Immediately prior to European settlement, Australian vegetation was dominated by seven vegetation types (Fig. 10). These are (in rank order based on area): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 hummock grasslands; eucalypt woodlands; acacia shrublands; acacia forests and woodlands; tussock grasslands; chenopod shrublands and forblands; eucalypt open woodlands. 10 Area (km²) of major vegetation groups pre-European settlement of Australia Major vegetation group Area (km2 ) Major vegetation group Rainforest and vine thickets 43 493 Mallee woodlands and shrublands Eucalypt tall open forests 44 817 Low closed forests and closed shrublands Eucalypt open forests Eucalypt low open forests Eucalypt woodlands Acacia forests and woodlands Area (km2 ) 383 399 15 864 340 968 Acacia shrublands 670 737 15 066 Other shrublands 115 824 1 012 047 657 582 Heath Tussock grasslands 47 158 589 212 Callitris forests and woodlands 30 963 Hummock grasslands Casuarina forests and woodlands 73 356 Other grasslands, herblands, sedgelands and rushlands 100 504 Melaleuca forests and woodlands 93 501 Chenopod shrubs, samphire shrubs and forblands 563 389 Other forests and woodlands 125 328 Eucalypt open woodlands 513 943 Tropical eucalypt woodlands/ grasslands 256 434 Acacia open woodlands 117 993 1 756 962 Mangroves, tidal mudflats, samphires and bare areas, claypan, sand, rock, lakes, lagoons, lakes 112 063 Together these vegetation types occupied about 75% of Australia’s area.

The discharge of rainfall and groundwater through vegetation can amount to thousands of millimetres per year. Thus, almost all of the rainfall on a catchment can be transpired through the vegetation of that catchment. indd 26 23/4/06 9:44:38 PM Water relations of plants 27 Movement through the SPAC is an important process for the discharge of water from catchments and has an impact on catchment water balance. Indeed, it is the widespread loss of trees from the Australian landscape that has changed the hydrological balance of vast areas of rural land and given rise to salinity in the landscape (see Chapter 8).

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