Site-specific climate analysis elucidates revegetation challenges for post-mining landscapes in eastern Australia

Audet, P., Arnold, S., Lechner, A. M. and Baumgartl, T. (2013) Site-specific climate analysis elucidates revegetation challenges for post-mining landscapes in eastern Australia. Biogeosciences, 10 10: 6545-6557. doi:10.5194/bg-10-6545-2013

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Author Audet, P.
Arnold, S.
Lechner, A. M.
Baumgartl, T.
Title Site-specific climate analysis elucidates revegetation challenges for post-mining landscapes in eastern Australia
Journal name Biogeosciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1726-4170
Publication date 2013-10-15
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.5194/bg-10-6545-2013
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 10
Start page 6545
End page 6557
Total pages 13
Editor R. F. Hüttl
C. Hinz
I. Kögel-Knabner
R. Schulin
W. Gerwin
J.-A. Subke
Place of publication Goettingen, Germany
Publisher Copernicus
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In eastern Australia, the availability of water is critical for the successful rehabilitation of post-mining landscapes and climatic characteristics of this diverse geographical region are closely defined by factors such as erratic rainfall and periods of drought and flooding. Despite this, specific metrics of climate patterning are seldom incorporated into the initial design of current post-mining land rehabilitation strategies. Our study proposes that a few common rainfall parameters can be combined and rated using arbitrary rainfall thresholds to characterise bioregional climate sensitivity relevant to the rehabilitation these landscapes. This approach included assessments of annual rainfall depth, average recurrence interval of prolonged low intensity rainfall, average recurrence intervals of short or prolonged high intensity events, median period without rain (or water-deficit) and standard deviation for this period in order to address climatic factors such as total water availability, seasonality and intensity – which were selected as potential proxies of both short- and long-term biological sensitivity to climate within the context of post-disturbance ecological development and recovery. Following our survey of available climate data, we derived site "climate sensitivity" indexes and compared the performance of 9 ongoing mine sites: Weipa, Mt. Isa and Cloncurry, Eromanga, Kidston, the Bowen Basin (Curragh), Tarong, North Stradbroke Island, and the Newnes Plateau. The sites were then ranked from most-to-least sensitive and compared with natural bioregional patterns of vegetation density using mean NDVI. It was determined that regular rainfall and relatively short periods of water-deficit were key characteristics of sites having less sensitivity to climate – as found among the relatively more temperate inland mining locations. Whereas, high rainfall variability, frequently occurring high intensity events, and (or) prolonged seasonal drought were primary indicators of sites having greater sensitivity to climate – as found among the semi-arid central-inland sites. Overall, the manner in which these climatic factors are identified and ultimately addressed by land managers and rehabilitation practitioners could be a key determinant of achievable success at given locations at the planning stages of rehabilitation design.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue. Ecosystems in transition: interactions and feedbacks with an emphasis on the initial development.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 15 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 15 Oct 2013, 20:35:42 EST by Dr Patrick Audet on behalf of Centre For Mined Land Rehabilitation