Predicting floodplain inundation and vegetation dynamics in arid wetlands

Steven G. Sandi*, Patricia M. Saco, George Kuczera, Li Wen, Neil Saintilan, Jose F. Rodriguez

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review

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    Abstract

    The Macquarie Marshes is a freshwater wetland system located in semiarid Australia. The ecological importance of this site has been recognized under the Ramsar convention. Plant associations in the marshes has shown a complex dynamic where some wetland vegetation patches have transitioned to terrestrial vegetation during severe drought, but also quickly responded to increased inflows due to record and near record rainfall accompanied by water releases from an upstream reservoir. Management decisions regarding the environmental flows require the use of predictive tools in order to assess the response of the vegetation. We have developed a vegetation response model that couples hydrodynamic modelling of the northern Macquarie Marshes with watering requirements of different plant associations and vegetation succession rules. The model simulates floods in the wetland during a series of years, after which patches of vegetation are analysed according to water depth, percent exceedance time and frequencies of inundation. During the simulated period, the patch can have adequate watering conditions, or it can have critical conditions that would lead to a succession to another type of vegetation. The predicted vegetation is reintroduced in the model, providing feedbacks for the next simulation period. In this contribution, we implemented the model to simulate changes of wetland understory during the period 1991 to 2014.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number02019
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalE3S Web of Conferences
    Volume40
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2018
    Event9th International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, River Flow 2018 - Lyon-Villeurbanne, France
    Duration: 5 Sep 20188 Sep 2018

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