Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 95–103 | Cite as

Wetlands as landscape units: spatial patterns in salinity and water chemistry

  • Michael J. Smith
  • E. Sabine G. Schreiber
  • Michele Kohout
  • Keely Ough
  • Ruth Lennie
  • Derek Turnbull
  • Changhao Jin
  • Tim Clancy
Original Paper

Abstract

Athalassic wetlands play a pivotal role in sediment and nutrient cycling and retention at the catchment level and are important ecosystems for local and regional biodiversity. Yet, the management of wetlands outside of riverine floodplains (non-riverine wetlands) is difficult, as there is limited understanding of these water bodies and of the processes that threaten them, like secondary salinisation. Accordingly, we describe the patterns of variation in wetland salinity and water chemistry across a regional landscape that is threatened by secondary salinisation. Spatial analyses indicated the distribution of the study wetlands was non-random and there was considerable positive spatial auto-correlation in water chemistry among wetlands—indicating a lack of independence. We detected massive variation in water chemistry among wetlands compared to minimal within-wetland variation and conductivity accounted for most of the among-wetland variation confirming its prominence in non-riverine wetland water chemistry. Wetland salinities were classified by their chemical evaporative pathway and we found a number of wetlands that may have become secondary salinised. The results reported here support the notion that the study, conservation and management of non-riverine wetlands should include assessments made at multiple spatial scales from individual waterbodies through to catchments. This is important because wetlands may not be independent units, but components of larger systems. However, we also note that the use of individual wetlands as units of replication may be problematic under some circumstances. We also argue that the identification of secondarily salinised wetlands will often require a multiple lines of evidence approach.

Keywords

Salinity Secondary salinisation Non-riverine wetlands Spatial variation Water chemistry 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by multi-regional NAP funding (Project number 202167). This research would not have been possible without the thank members of the support and cooperation of our steering committee, private landowners, WCMA and the community in general within the Wimmera region. We thank Joanne Potts for statistical advice. We also thank Paul Dent, Don Leonard, Kim O’Donnell, Peter Hall, Stuart Kerr and Steven Talbott for their assistance in the field. This research was conducted with the permission of the Parks Victoria (Permit Number: 10002156), Victorian State Forests (Permit Number: 2004-02-001) and the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

References

  1. Backhouse G, Lyon J, Cant B (2004) Recovery plan for the Murray Hardyhead Craterocephalus fluviatilis McCulloch, 1913 2005–2009 (Draft). Arthur Rylah Institute For Environmental Research, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  2. Bayly IAE (1967) The general biological classification of aquatic environments with special reference to those of Australia. In: Weatherby AH (ed) Australian inland waters and their fauna. ANU Press, Canberra, pp 78–104Google Scholar
  3. Bayly IAE, Williams WD (1966) Chemical and biological studies on some saline lakes of south-east Australia. Aust J Marine Freshwater Res 17:177–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brodman RJ, Ogger T, Bogard AJP, Long RA, Mancuso K, Falk D (2003) Multivariate analyses of the influences of water chemistry and habitat parameters on␣the abundances of pond-breeding amphibians. J␣Freshwater Ecol 18:425–436Google Scholar
  5. Davis JA, McGuire M, Halse SA, Hamilton D, Horwitz P, McComb AJ, Froend RH, Lyons M, Sim L (2003) What happens when you add salt: predicting impacts of secondary salinisation on shallow aquatic ecosystems by using an alternative-states model. Aust J Bot 51:715–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Drever JI (1997) The geochemistry of natural waters surface and groundwater environments. Prentice-Hall, Inc., New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  7. Environment Australia (1997) The wetlands policy of the Commonwealth Government of Australia. The Biodiversity Group of Environment Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  8. Faulkner S (2004) Urbanization impacts on the structure and function of forested wetlands. Urban Ecos 7:89–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gell PA (1997) The development of a diatom database for inferring lake salinity, western Victoria, Australia: towards a quantitative approach for reconstructing past climates. Aust J Bot 45:389–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gell PA, Bulpin S, Wallbrink P, Hancock G, Bickford S (2005) Tareena Billabong—a palaeolimnological history of an ever-changing wetland, Chowilla Floodplain, lower Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. Marine Freshwater Res 56:441–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hart BT, Lake PS, Webb JA, Grace MR (2003) Ecological risk to aquatic systems from salinity increases. Aust J Bot 51:689–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hillman T, Crase L, Furze B, Ananda J, Maybery D (2005) Multidisciplinary approaches to natural resource management. Hydrobiologia 552:99–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Holyoak M, Lawler SP (1996) Persistence of an extinction-prone predator-prey interaction through metapopulation dynamics. Ecology 77:1876–1879CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Legendre P, Legendre L (2004) Numerical ecology. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  15. Ma JZ, Wang XS, Edmunds WM (2005) The characteristics of ground-water resources and their changes under the impacts of human activity in the arid Northwest China—a case study of the Shiyang River Basin. J Arid Environ 61:277–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Marshall NA, Bailey PCE (2004) Impact of secondary salinisation on freshwater ecosystems: effects of contrasting, experimental, short-term releases of saline wastewater on macroinvertebrates in a lowland stream. Marine Freshwater Res 55:14Google Scholar
  17. McComb AJ, Lake PS (1990) Australian wetlands. Collins/Angus & Robertson, North RydeGoogle Scholar
  18. Minh LQ, Tuong TP, van Mensvoort MEF, Bouma J (1998) Soil and water table management effects on aluminum dynamics in an acid sulphate soil in Vietnam. Agric Ecosys Environ 68:255–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Moss B (2005) Ecology of fresh waters. Blackwell Publishing, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  20. Nielsen DL, Brock MA, Rees GN, Baldwin DS (2003) Effects of increasing salinity on freshwater ecosystems in Australia. Aust J Bot 51:655–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Norman, FI, Corrick AH (1988) Wetlands in Victoria: a brief review. In: McComb A J, Lake PS (eds), The conservation of Australian wetlands. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Canberra, pp 17–34Google Scholar
  22. Peranginangin N, Sakthivadivel R, Scott NR, Kendy E, Steenhuis TS (2004) Water accounting for conjunctive groundwater/surface water management: case of the Singkarak-Ombilin River basin, Indonesia. J Hydrol 292:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Perry JN (1995) Spatial analysis by distance indices. J␣Anim Ecol 64:303–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Piyankarage SC, Mallawatantri AP, Matsuno Y, Pathiratne KAS (2004) Human impacts and the status of water quality in the Bundala RAMSAR wetland lagoon system in Southern Sri Lanka. Wetlands Ecol Manage 12:473–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Radke LC, Howard KWF, Gell PA (2002) Chemical diversity in south-eastern Australian saline lakes. I: geochemical causes. Marine Freshwater Res 53:941–959CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Robertson HA, McGee TK (2003) Applying local knowledge: the contribution of oral history to wetland rehabilitation at Kanyapella Basin. Aust J Environ Manage 69:275–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sawada M (1999) ROOKCASE: An Excel 97/2000 Visual Basic (VB) add-in for exploring global and local spatial autocorrelation. Bull Ecol Soc Am 80:231–234Google Scholar
  28. Semlitsch RD, Bodie JR (1998) Are small, isolated wetlands expendable? Cons Biol 12:1129–1133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tews J, Brose U, Grimm V, Tielborger K, Wichmann MC,␣Schwager M, Jeltsch F (2004) Animal species diversity driven by habitat heterogeneity/diversity: the␣importance of keystone structures. J Biogeogr 31:79–92Google Scholar
  30. Timms BV (2005) Salt lakes in Australia: present problems and prognosis for the future. Hydrobiologia 552:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  32. WCMA (2003) Wimmera regional catchment strategy.␣Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, HorshamGoogle Scholar
  33. Wetzel RG (2001) Limnology lake and river ecosystems. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  34. Williams WD (1999) Salinisation: A major threat to water resources in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world. Lakes Res: Res Manage 4:85–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Williams WD (2001) Anthropogenic salinisation of inland waters. Hydrobiologia 466:329–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Smith
    • 1
  • E. Sabine G. Schreiber
    • 2
  • Michele Kohout
    • 1
  • Keely Ough
    • 1
  • Ruth Lennie
    • 1
  • Derek Turnbull
    • 1
  • Changhao Jin
    • 1
  • Tim Clancy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sustainability and EnvironmentArthur Rylah InstituteHeidelbergAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Sustainability and EnvironmentEnvironmental Water Reserve and River Health DivisionEast MelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations