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Managing vegetation for multiple
benefit outcomes –
Diagnosis and Prognosis
Richard Thackway
Presentation to Murray Darlin...
MDBA has identified two development areas
for native vegetation:
1. Analysis framework for evaluation of extent and condit...
Definitions
• Change in a plant community (type) due to effects of land
management practices:
– Structure
– Composition
– ...
VAST = Vegetation Assets States and Transitions
NVIS = National Vegetation Information System
VIVIVIIIIII0
Native vegetati...
1925
Occupation
Relaxation
Anthropogenic
change
Net benefit
time
1900 20251950
Reference
changeinvegetation
indicatororind...
Accounting for changes in
native veg type, extent and condition
Land managers use LMP to influence ecological function at ...
Goal is to develop whole of landscape monitoring
of criteria and indicators relative to reference states
0
20
40
60
80
100...
1925
Occupation
Relaxation
Anthropogenic
change
Net benefit
time
1900 20251950
Reference
changeinvegetation
indicatororind...
Caution - remote sensing change is relative to a baseline
- it is only half the answer – NEED REFERENCE STATE
Zero/constan...
Photo by Peter Coyne
1740
1906
Phillip Island, South Pacific – extent and condition
Photo State Library NSW: JW Beattie
18...
year
score%
Pine – Hardwood Subtropical Rainforest, Phillip Island, Sth Pac
Pigs
released
Uninhabited
island
Pigs died
out...
Evaluation framework
• Has been extensively used to evaluate condition outcomes
– Diagnosing and reporting condition (i.e....
Transformationscore
Years
1800
2016
Reference
Developing scenarios for future landscape
transformation
Modified
Transforme...
NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, Transect 2 (ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c)
Reference pre-European: Sydney Blue Gum High Forest
...
Before developing any scenarios it is critical to assess where, when
and how landscapes were/are transformed relative to a...
Bioregion: Mulga Lands
Reference state: Extent of pre-clearing Regional Ecosystem (RE) 6.3.13
Atriplex spp., Sclerolaena s...
Need to assess which of the 10 key criteria are affected
and by how much i.e. Condition
Soil
Vegetation
Regenerative capac...
NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, Transect 2 (ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c)
Function – Regenerative capacity
Criteria #1 Criteri...
NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, Transect 2 (ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c)
Function – Regenerative capacity
Criteria #5 Criteri...
NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c
Vegetation structure
Indicators:
#13: Height
#14: Foliage cover
#...
NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, Transect 2 (ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c)
Species composition
Criteria #9
Criteria #10
Conclusions
• Vegetation types are kept in various extents and condition states
depending on social and economic ideals, v...
Thank you
Supplementary Information
Dynamics
Rainfall is assumed the main driver of natural system dynamics
It is a key dataset used in developing chronologie...
Differentiating natural disturbance events and
land management practices
Photos by Garry Dowling and Richard Thackway
2006...
Reference state: Pre-clearing Regional ecosystem 6.3.13
Atriplex spp., Sclerolaena spp., species of Asteraceae and/or shor...
A Framework for Program Evaluation
Source: http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/mph-modules/ProgramEvaluation/ProgramEvaluation2...
Yapp, Walker and Thackway (2010)
VAST 1 Residual/unmodified*
VAST II1 Transformed
* Reference state
Multiple
benefits
(eco...
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Managing vegetation for multiple benefit outcomes – Diagnosis and Prognosis

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A framework for evaluating changes in extent and condition of woody native vegetation communities in the Murray Darling Basin. An approach for developing scenarios for future landscape transformation to enhance native vegetation communities

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Managing vegetation for multiple benefit outcomes – Diagnosis and Prognosis

  1. 1. Managing vegetation for multiple benefit outcomes – Diagnosis and Prognosis Richard Thackway Presentation to Murray Darling Basin Authority 22 September 2016
  2. 2. MDBA has identified two development areas for native vegetation: 1. Analysis framework for evaluation of extent and condition of woody vegetation communities 2. Developing scenarios for future landscape transformation
  3. 3. Definitions • Change in a plant community (type) due to effects of land management practices: – Structure – Composition – Regenerative capacity • Resilience = the capacity of an plant community to recover to a reference state following a change/s in land management • Transformation = changes to vegetation condition over time • Condition, resilience and transformation are assessed relative to fully natural a reference state Vegetation condition
  4. 4. VAST = Vegetation Assets States and Transitions NVIS = National Vegetation Information System VIVIVIIIIII0 Native vegetation cover Non-native vegetation cover Increasing modification caused by use and management Transitions = trend Vegetation thresholds Reference for each veg type (NVIS) A framework for assessing modification of native vegetation extent and condition Condition states Residual or unmodified Naturally bare Modified Transformed Replaced - Adventive Replaced - managed Replaced - removed Thackway & Lesslie (2008) Diagnostic attributes of VAST (classes): • Vegetation structure • Species composition • Regenerative capacity VAST-2 criteria and indicators Change & Trend NVIS
  5. 5. 1925 Occupation Relaxation Anthropogenic change Net benefit time 1900 20251950 Reference changeinvegetation indicatororindex 1850 1875 1975 2000 Model of ecosystem change (causes & effects) Baseline
  6. 6. Accounting for changes in native veg type, extent and condition Land managers use LMP to influence ecological function at sites and across landscapes by changing: • Vegetation structure • Species composition and • Regenerative capacity LMP deliberately &/or unintentionally do this by: • Modifying • Removing and replacing • Enhancing • Restoring • Maintaining • Improving * * Natural disturbances Function Structure & Composition LMP = land management practices
  7. 7. Goal is to develop whole of landscape monitoring of criteria and indicators relative to reference states 0 20 40 60 80 100 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Year FPC Source: Tim Danaher and Phil Tickle Site and landscape scales
  8. 8. 1925 Occupation Relaxation Anthropogenic change Net benefit time 1900 20251950 Reference changeinvegetation indicatororindex 1850 1875 1975 2000 VAST classes Evaluation of ecosystem change that rely on remote sensing metrics however … Hyperspatial, hypertemoral & hyperspectral remote sensing Aerial photos and digital imagery Aerial photos Quantitative Baseline Time before remote sensing
  9. 9. Caution - remote sensing change is relative to a baseline - it is only half the answer – NEED REFERENCE STATE Zero/constant baseline (e.g. environmental planting = reveg) Response variable/s Time Start of activity/ intervention Time Varying baseline (e.g. environmental watering) Response variable/s Single intervention & climatic variability Baseline Response to activity/ intervention Indicator 13: Overstorey height Indicator 4: ground water
  10. 10. Photo by Peter Coyne 1740 1906 Phillip Island, South Pacific – extent and condition Photo State Library NSW: JW Beattie 1860 already denuded
  11. 11. year score% Pine – Hardwood Subtropical Rainforest, Phillip Island, Sth Pac Pigs released Uninhabited island Pigs died out Goats, rabbit and fowl released Goats died out Rabbits eradicated Rabbit control commenced Commenced passive & active restoration. Minimal ecological monitoring Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
  12. 12. Evaluation framework • Has been extensively used to evaluate condition outcomes – Diagnosing and reporting condition (i.e. status and trend) of vegetation types – Evaluating examples of restoration and regeneration
  13. 13. Transformationscore Years 1800 2016 Reference Developing scenarios for future landscape transformation Modified Transformed Replaced/ managed Residual Replaced/ adventive VAST Classes 1850 19501900 2000 2050 2100 Replaced/ removed Baseline Classes can be modelled as extent and condition Extentnative
  14. 14. NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, Transect 2 (ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c) Reference pre-European: Sydney Blue Gum High Forest Commenced managing area for recreation. Weed control. Arboretum abandoned Cleared & sown to improved pasture for grazing & orchard Commenced grazing native pastures Indigenous people manage the area Grazed area gazetted as State Forest, commenced planting arboretum Area logged for building houses and fences Commenced managing area as a future production forest. Weed control Explorers traverse the area and site selected Ceased grazing. Area purchased as a future working forest Modified Transformed Replaced/ managed or removed Residual Replaced /adventive VAST
  15. 15. Before developing any scenarios it is critical to assess where, when and how landscapes were/are transformed relative to a reference LU = Land Use, LMP = Land Management Practices VAST Diagnostic attributes Time
  16. 16. Bioregion: Mulga Lands Reference state: Extent of pre-clearing Regional Ecosystem (RE) 6.3.13 Atriplex spp., Sclerolaena spp., species of Asteraceae and/or short grasses open-herbland on alluvial plains Source: Daniel Ferguson, Queensland Herbarium
  17. 17. Need to assess which of the 10 key criteria are affected and by how much i.e. Condition Soil Vegetation Regenerative capacity/ function Vegetation structure & Species composition 1. Soil hydrological status 2. Soil physical status 3. Soil chemical status 4. Soil biological status 5. Fire regime 6. Reproductive potential 7. Overstorey structure 8. Understorey structure 9. Overstorey composition 10. Understorey composition
  18. 18. NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, Transect 2 (ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c) Function – Regenerative capacity Criteria #1 Criteria #2 Criteria #3 Criteria #4 Disturbance regime
  19. 19. NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, Transect 2 (ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c) Function – Regenerative capacity Criteria #5 Criteria #6
  20. 20. NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c Vegetation structure Indicators: #13: Height #14: Foliage cover #15: Age structure Indicators: #16: Height #17: Foliage cover #18: Age structure Criteria #7 Criteria #8
  21. 21. NSW, SB Bioregion, Cumberland SF, Transect 2 (ex-comp 3a, 7a, 7b, 7c) Species composition Criteria #9 Criteria #10
  22. 22. Conclusions • Vegetation types are kept in various extents and condition states depending on social and economic ideals, values, goals and drivers • Conversions to non-vegetated, non-native and highly modified native commenced at European settlement; the reference state • Conventional mapping and monitoring of vegetation type, extent and condition using remote sensing is only started around 70 years ago • Transformations are changes in condition and extent relative to a reference state: function, structure & composition • Net gains in condition and extent(spatially and temporally) can be accounted for as changes in function, structure and composition • To achieve long term lasting changes in extent and condition we must engage land managers using language of public and private benefits • Scenarios that aim to transform extent and condition must be informed locally by evidence of previous land management practices
  23. 23. Thank you
  24. 24. Supplementary Information
  25. 25. Dynamics Rainfall is assumed the main driver of natural system dynamics It is a key dataset used in developing chronologies of effects of land management on vegetation condition: • Period 1900 – current1 • Average seasonal rainfall (summer, autumn, …) is highly correlated to LMP2 and their effects on function, structure and composition • Rainfall anomaly is calculated above and below the mean • Two year running trend line is fitted to give insights into El Niño and La Niña events3 1. Bureau of Meteorology: modelled monthly rainfall 5km resolution national dataset 2. LMP – Land management practices 3. El Niño events are associated with prolonged periods of below average rainfall and at times, devastating droughts. A rapid onset of a La Niña event, following a severe El Niño event, have been associated with major soil erosion events and major cycles of regeneration and germination
  26. 26. Differentiating natural disturbance events and land management practices Photos by Garry Dowling and Richard Thackway 2006 20132009 Low intensity grazing - cell grazing sheep Severe dust storm Low intensity grazing - cell grazing sheep
  27. 27. Reference state: Pre-clearing Regional ecosystem 6.3.13 Atriplex spp., Sclerolaena spp., species of Asteraceae and/or short grasses open- herbland on alluvial plains Illustrates a baseline but not the Reference state Photo:MelindaLaidlaw High intensity cattle grazing - Continuous or set stocking Source: https://publications.qld.gov.au/storage/f/2014-09-18T23%3A49%3A36.560Z/re-seq-landzones.pdf
  28. 28. A Framework for Program Evaluation Source: http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/mph-modules/ProgramEvaluation/ProgramEvaluation2.html Need continuous social learning linked to adaptive management
  29. 29. Yapp, Walker and Thackway (2010) VAST 1 Residual/unmodified* VAST II1 Transformed * Reference state Multiple benefits (ecosystem services) and condition states

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