Long-term evidence of wetland change: Accommodating variability in setting restoration options

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Peter Gell

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Long term records of wetland change reveal considerable variation in response to climate variability, anthropogenic catchment change, and the natural evolutionary pathways of aquatic systems. For wetland restoration this suggests that there is no single identifiable condition that may represent a target for management actions. Almost fifty years ago nations signed the Ramsar Convention for the protection of the world’s most significant wetlands in response to the recognition of the widespread loss and degradation of critical habitat, particularly for birds and fish. Under the Convention, governments are required to identify the natural ecological character of their nominated wetlands. In most instances this condition was that described at the time of listing. More recently the Convention is seeking signatory parties to identify the limits of acceptable change to their listed wetlands. There are many listed wetlands across Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin and the nominated natural character of many is in contrast to that revealed by paleoecological records of their past state. This longer-term view could broaden options for management and allow the drivers of change to be better identified and mitigated and so allow restoration measures to be better targeted into the future.

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Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration