River conservation planning : accounting for condition, vulnerability and connected systems

  • Simon Linke

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Conservation science in rivers is still lagging behind its terrestrial and marine counterparts,despite increasing threats to freshwater biodiversity and extinction rates being estimated as five times higher than in terrestrial ecosystems. Internationally,most protected rivers have been assigned reserve status in the framework of terrestrial conservation plans,neglecting catchment effects of disturbance. While freshwater conservation tools are mainly index based (e.g. richness,rarity),modern terrestrial and marine conservation planning methods use complementarity-based algorithms - proven to be most efficient at protecting a large number of taxa for the least cost. The few complementarity-based lotic conservation efforts all use broad river classifications instead of biota as targets,a method heavily disputed in the literature. They also ignore current condition and future vulnerability. It was the aim of this thesis to develop a framework for conservation planning that: a) accounts for the connected nature of rivers b) is complementarity based and uses biota as targets c) integrates current status and future vulnerability I developed two different approaches using macroinvertebrate datasets from Australia,Canada and the USA. The first new method was a site/based two-tiered approach integrating condition and conservation value,based on RIVPACS/AUSRIVAS - a modelling technique that predicts macroinvertebrate composition. The condition stage assesses biodiversity loss by estimating a site-specific expected assemblage and comparing it to the actual observed assemblage. Sites with significant biodiversity loss are flagged for restoration,or other management actions. All other sites progress to the conservation stage,in which an index of site-specific taxonomic rarity is calculated. This second index (O/E BIODIV) assesses the number of rare taxa (as defined by
Date of Award1 Jan 2006
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra

Cite this

River conservation planning : accounting for condition, vulnerability and connected systems
Linke, S. (Author). 1 Jan 2006

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis