Progress, problems and prospects in Australian river repair

Kirstie Fryirs*, Bruce Chessman, Ian Rutherfurd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


Effective river restoration requires an integrative approach among researchers, managers and stakeholders, grounded in sound science. Using Australia as a case study, we examined contemporary responses to the following three global challenges for river management: first, to base management practice on 'best available science' (BAS); second, to integrate diverse, discipline-bound knowledge within cross-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches; and third, to achieve adaptive management based on monitoring and evaluation. Analysis of 562 papers from the six Australian national stream-management conferences held since 1996 provided insight into the rapidly growing area of management, and the degree to which these three challenges are being met. The review showed that discipline-bound abiotic or biotic science was the focus of 46% of papers. Cross-disciplinary science, defined as the integration of biophysical sciences, was presented in 36% of papers, and trans-disciplinary science, defined as the merging of biophysical science with social and economic perspectives, in 17%. Monitoring and evaluation results were presented in only 12% of papers, whereas applications of adaptive management were reported in a mere 2%. Although river management has been transformed in recent decades, much remains to be done to create a holistic foundation for river restoration that links biophysical science to social science and economics. Journal compilation

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-654
Number of pages13
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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