An interdisciplinary approach for understanding and managing a sub-tropical coastal wetland ecosystem: Native Dog Creek, Southeast Queensland, Australia
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Coastal wetlands in sub-tropical Australia are increasingly under pressures from population growth and development. To understand and manage the complex systems sustainably requires the integration of knowledge from many disciplines about processes and how these operate. The research takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding a coastal wetland in sub-tropical south-east Queensland and how it has been impacted by management activities. It starts with a conceptual model and explores this in five discrete but interrelated studies: stratigraphy, pollen analysis, climate and meteorology, soil chemistry (acid sulfate soils assessment), and more recent land use changes. The historical development of the area is outlined using long-term information from sediment cores and pollen analysis as well as more recent history from documents relating to European settlement and aerial photographs for the recent past. Climatic and soils data elucidate the effects of weather variability on the system and are used to assess the impact of drainage works on the flood plain and especially on acid sulfate soils. It concludes that human activities in the area, particularly in the last half of the 20th century, have led to rapid changes. The major issues are salinisation from tidal intrusion into ditched areas and the oxidation of acid sulfate soils resulting from disturbance of the substrate for development-related purposes. Management recommendations include restoring the hydrology and managing land use.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland
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