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Impacts of land use on the structure of river macroinvertebrate communities across Tasmania, Australia: spatial scales and thresholds

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Magierowksi, RH and Davies, PE and Read, S and Horrigan, N (2012) Impacts of land use on the structure of river macroinvertebrate communities across Tasmania, Australia: spatial scales and thresholds. Marine and Freshwater Research, 63. pp. 762-776. ISSN 1323-1650

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Abstract

The formulation of scientifically justified guidelines for management of anthropogenic impacts on river
health requires better understanding of the quantitative linkages among river-system parameters. The present study
examines relationships between land use and biological metrics of river health in Tasmania, in the context of a variety of
environmental drivers. An extensive dataset (103 sites) of macroinvertebrate assemblages was collected between 1999 and
2006. We hypothesised that grazing by domestic livestock would have the greatest impact on community structure of the
land-use types investigated because grazing is a dominant land-use type in Tasmania (and can cover a large proportion of
catchment area), because land clearance for grazing is rarely followed by regeneration and because historically riparian
vegetation has not been protected. Multivariate and correlation analysis showed that community structure responded
strongly to land use and confirmed that the strongest relationships were observed for grazing land use and environmental
variables associated with grazing, such as e.g. water abstraction and/or regulation and riparian vegetation. Analyses
accounting for hydrological region and location confirmed the generality of this relationship.Weconclude that catchmentwide
management actions would be required to mitigate these impacts of grazing because land use and riparian vegetation
condition were generally stronger determinants of community structure at catchment rather than local scales

Item Type: Article
Keywords: biological indicators, catchment management, data mining.
Journal or Publication Title: Marine and Freshwater Research
Page Range: pp. 762-776
ISSN: 1323-1650
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1071/MF11267
Date Deposited: 01 Jan 2013 23:42
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:41
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