Oral Presentation 9th Australian Stream Management Conference 2018

Trialling the use of controlled burning for exotic vegetation management in novel riparian ecosystems (#17)

Rebecca Mabbott 1 , Kirstie Fryirs 1
  1. Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia

It is recognised throughout Eastern Australia, and much of the world, that river systems have undergone a series of dramatic geomorphic and vegetative changes following European settlement. Poor land management practices and the removal of riparian vegetation and wood from channels resulted in significant river metamorphosis over the following two centuries. The introduction of invasive plant species modified vegetation composition and behaviour including the geomorphic effectiveness of riparian vegetation. Recent research has documented a shift in the trajectory of river health towards recovery, including an increase in riparian woody vegetation and depositional landforms. However, there is limited discussion surrounding the quality of the returning riparian vegetation, specifically exotic plant species prevalence and geomorphic effectiveness. In response to these observations, this investigation seeks to document and quantify the geomorphic and vegetative change that has occurred over the past century along the Paterson River in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. Through combining studies of geomorphology and ecological restoration science this project aims to link the effects of land management, exotic plant species invasion and geomorphic change on river recovery and couple this information with trials of large-scale invasive plant species management techniques in the riparian zone. Preliminary trials of field-based, large-scale riparian invasive plant species management were conducted using a combined process of aerial spraying and burning. Overall the initial riparian burn showed promising results for the management of invasive riparian plant species and should be considered for future testing.

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