Synthesising the effects of land use on natural and managed landscapes

Thackway, Richard and Specht, Alison (2015) Synthesising the effects of land use on natural and managed landscapes. Science of the Total Environment, 526 136-152. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.070

Author Thackway, Richard
Specht, Alison
Title Synthesising the effects of land use on natural and managed landscapes
Journal name Science of the Total Environment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0048-9697
Publication date 2015-09-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.070
Open Access Status
Volume 526
Start page 136
End page 152
Total pages 17
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
To properly manage our natural and managed landscapes, and to restore or repair degraded areas, it is important to know the changes that have taken place over time, particularly with respect to land use and its cumulative effect on ecological function. In common with many places in the world, where the industrial revolution resulted in profound changes to land use and management, Australia's landscapes have been transformed in the last 200 years. Initially the VAST (Vegetation Assets, States and Transitions) system was developed to describe and map changes in vegetation over time through a series of condition states or classes; here we describe an enhancement to the VAST method which will enable identification of the factors contributing to those changes in state as a result of changes in management practice. The ‘VAST-2’ system provides a structure in which to compile, interpret and sequence a range of data about past management practices, their effect on site and vegetation condition. Alongside a systematic chronology of land use and management, a hierarchy of indices is used to build a picture of the condition of the vegetation through time: 22 indicators within ten criteria representing three components of vegetation condition—regenerative capacity, vegetation structure and species composition—are scored using information from a variety of sources. These indicators are assessed relative to a pre-European reference state, either actual or synthetic. Each component is weighted proportionally to its contribution to the whole, determined through expert opinion. These weighted condition components are used to produce an aggregated transformation score for the vegetation. The application of this system to a range of sites selected across Australia's tropical, sub-tropical and temperate bioregions is presented, illustrating the utility of the system. Notably, the method accommodates a range of different types of information to be aggregated.
Keyword Change
Plant community
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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