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Remote sensing measures restoration successes, but canopy heights lag in restoring floodplain vegetation

Remote sensing measures restoration successes, but canopy heights lag in restoring floodplain vegetation
Remote sensing measures restoration successes, but canopy heights lag in restoring floodplain vegetation
Wetlands worldwide are becoming increasingly degraded, and this has motivated many attempts to manage and restore wetland ecosystems. Restoration actions require a large resource investment, so it is critical to measure the outcomes of these management actions. We evaluated the restoration of floodplain wetland vegetation across a chronosequence of land uses, using remote sensing analyses. We compared the Landsat-based fractional cover of restoration areas with river red gum and lignum reference communities, which functioned as a fixed target for restoration, over three time periods: (i) before agricultural land use (1987–1997); (ii) during the peak of agricultural development (2004–2007); and (iii) post-restoration of flooding (2010–2015). We also developed LiDAR-derived canopy height models (CHMs) for comparison over the second and third time periods. Inundation was crucial for restoration, with many fields showing little sign of similarity to target vegetation until after inundation, even if agricultural land uses had ceased. Fields cleared or cultivated for only one year had greater restoration success compared to areas cultivated for three or more years. Canopy height increased most in the fields that were cleared and cultivated for a short duration, in contrast to those cultivated for >12 years, which showed few signs of recovery. Restoration was most successful in fields with a short development duration after the intervention, but resulting dense monotypic stands of river cooba require future monitoring and possibly intervention to prevent sustained dominance. Fields with intensive land use histories may need to be managed as alternative, drier flood-dependent vegetation communities, such as black box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) grasslands. Remotely-sensed data provided a powerful measurement technique for tracking restoration success over a large floodplain.
2072-4292
1-19
Dawson, Samantha
c95ebdca-bb95-4c77-8f98-706ee82f9c63
Fisher, Adrian
03c229f0-efd1-4820-ae99-9c78943001da
Lucas, Richard
ebe42102-7d60-4a83-bfc2-5c3387ae8e40
Hutchinson, David
9cb18c13-9909-48aa-b9dd-4a1cf44df9f4
Berney, Peter
462fca90-40e8-4648-9911-9222b961af13
Keith, David
469ee0ce-c227-4bd4-aa68-373760ae3b95
Catford, Jane
c80a4529-b7cb-4d36-aba8-f38de01ce729
Kingsford, Richard
68d299cd-173e-4be7-9fd2-b65bacf643f5
Dawson, Samantha
c95ebdca-bb95-4c77-8f98-706ee82f9c63
Fisher, Adrian
03c229f0-efd1-4820-ae99-9c78943001da
Lucas, Richard
ebe42102-7d60-4a83-bfc2-5c3387ae8e40
Hutchinson, David
9cb18c13-9909-48aa-b9dd-4a1cf44df9f4
Berney, Peter
462fca90-40e8-4648-9911-9222b961af13
Keith, David
469ee0ce-c227-4bd4-aa68-373760ae3b95
Catford, Jane
c80a4529-b7cb-4d36-aba8-f38de01ce729
Kingsford, Richard
68d299cd-173e-4be7-9fd2-b65bacf643f5

Dawson, Samantha, Fisher, Adrian, Lucas, Richard, Hutchinson, David, Berney, Peter, Keith, David, Catford, Jane and Kingsford, Richard (2016) Remote sensing measures restoration successes, but canopy heights lag in restoring floodplain vegetation. Remote Sensing, 8 (7), 1-19. (doi:10.3390/rs8070542).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Wetlands worldwide are becoming increasingly degraded, and this has motivated many attempts to manage and restore wetland ecosystems. Restoration actions require a large resource investment, so it is critical to measure the outcomes of these management actions. We evaluated the restoration of floodplain wetland vegetation across a chronosequence of land uses, using remote sensing analyses. We compared the Landsat-based fractional cover of restoration areas with river red gum and lignum reference communities, which functioned as a fixed target for restoration, over three time periods: (i) before agricultural land use (1987–1997); (ii) during the peak of agricultural development (2004–2007); and (iii) post-restoration of flooding (2010–2015). We also developed LiDAR-derived canopy height models (CHMs) for comparison over the second and third time periods. Inundation was crucial for restoration, with many fields showing little sign of similarity to target vegetation until after inundation, even if agricultural land uses had ceased. Fields cleared or cultivated for only one year had greater restoration success compared to areas cultivated for three or more years. Canopy height increased most in the fields that were cleared and cultivated for a short duration, in contrast to those cultivated for >12 years, which showed few signs of recovery. Restoration was most successful in fields with a short development duration after the intervention, but resulting dense monotypic stands of river cooba require future monitoring and possibly intervention to prevent sustained dominance. Fields with intensive land use histories may need to be managed as alternative, drier flood-dependent vegetation communities, such as black box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) grasslands. Remotely-sensed data provided a powerful measurement technique for tracking restoration success over a large floodplain.

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Accepted/In Press date: 17 June 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 June 2016
Published date: 24 June 2016
Organisations: Environmental

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400875
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400875
ISSN: 2072-4292
PURE UUID: 45df810e-ef4b-4453-961e-0994cd366e83
ORCID for Jane Catford: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0582-5960

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Date deposited: 28 Sep 2016 15:34
Last modified: 22 Jul 2022 20:07

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Contributors

Author: Samantha Dawson
Author: Adrian Fisher
Author: Richard Lucas
Author: David Hutchinson
Author: Peter Berney
Author: David Keith
Author: Jane Catford ORCID iD
Author: Richard Kingsford

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