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dc.contributor.authorCapon, Samantha
dc.contributor.editorCapon, S
dc.contributor.editorJames, C
dc.contributor.editorReid, M
dc.description.abstractAustralia's riverine landscapes encompass an enormous diversity of riparian habitats, broadly defined here as lands that 'adjoin, directly influence or are influenced by a body of water' (Price and Tubman 2007). Predominantly, these are the parts of the landscape that are periodically inundated by overbank floods from the waterbodies with which they are associated and therefore also exist for at least some of the time as relatively dry, semi-terrestrial habitats. While trees and shrubs are present in many, though not all, of Australia's riparian habitats, virtually all riparian areas support herbaceous plants at one time or another. Referred to in this chapter as 'riparian herbs', these relatively small, mostly non-woody plants represent a diverse array of groundcover and understo­rey species that typically contribute to the bulk of species richness in Australia's riparian habitats. While riparian herb assemblages can include submerged as well as free and attached floating aquatic plants which occur mainly in the presence of surface water, these are discussed in Chapters 5 and 6. Instead, this chapter focuses on the amphibious and terrestrial herbaceous plants that are present in riparian habitats during damp or dry phases in the absence of standing or flowing water (although these plants sometimes persist during wet phases as well). Emergent plants, typically considered to be a major group of aquatic plants (e.g. Sainty and Jacobs 2003), are also included given their prevalence in riparian habitats. In this chapter we provide a brief overview of riparian habitats in Australia and the major environmental factors influencing the character and condition of their herbaceous vegetation. The diversity of Australian riparian herbs is then discussed with particular reference to key plant groups, their taxonomic diversity and their distribution, both regionally and among riparian habitats. A synthesis of plant traits follows with an emphasis on those growth and life history characteristics that enable riparian herbs to persist in habitats that are characterised by variable flooding and drying regimes. Major spatial and temporal patterns in the composition and structure of riparian herbaceous vegetation in relation to wetting and drying patterns are discussed. The final section highlights the provision of ecosystem services by riparian herbs and their economic and cultural significance to Australian people.
dc.publisherCSIRO Publishing
dc.relation.ispartofbooktitleVegetation of Australian Riverine Landscapes: Biology, Ecology and Management
dc.subject.fieldofresearchEcology not elsewhere classified
dc.titleRiparian herbs
dc.typeBook chapter
dc.type.descriptionB1 - Chapters
dc.type.codeB - Book Chapters
gro.facultyGriffith Sciences, Griffith School of Environment
gro.hasfulltextNo Full Text
gro.griffith.authorCapon, Samantha J.

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