A recent CRDC project with Griffith University investigated how human and natural activities impact on riparian ecosystems, and their provision of ecosystem services (like natural pest control). The project had a particular focus on determining which management strategies best promote and maintain riparian ecosystem function and services.
The key outcomes were recently published in the handbook: Managing riparian ecosystems for ecosystem services and biodiversity – a handbook for the cotton industry.
The handbook outlines the importance of riparian vegetation condition and connectivity for native fauna’s survival and its provision of ecosystem services to farmers and the environment. (Ecosystem services are things like natural pest control, erosion control and carbon sequestration and storage).
The handbook is broken up into two parts. The first part synthesizes thecurrent understanding of riparian ecosystems, their functions, ecosystem services and the main factors influencing these. The second part of the handbook provides users with information concerning management of riparian ecosystems including guidelines for monitoring and evaluating riparian ecosystem management.
The table below, taken from the handbook, provides a good summary of the major ecological functions and related ecosystem services of riparian ecosystems as well as their key drivers. The key drivers help inform the development of management guidelines.
“Maintaining and improving the condition of biodiversity in cotton landscapes is essential to maintaining the ecosystem services provided by native vegetation such as riparian zones,” CRDC’s R&D Manager Stacey Vogel said.
“The Managing Riparian Ecosystems handbook provides an important resource that improves our understanding of riparian ecosystems function and how the factors such as management influence its function and delivery of ecosystem services to cotton communities and farms.”
The handbook can be found here.