Habitat and biodiversity of On-Farm Water Storages: A Case Study in Southeast Queensland, Australia

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Title Habitat and biodiversity of On-Farm Water Storages: A Case Study in Southeast Queensland, Australia
Author Markwell, Kim Alison; Fellows, Christy Susan
Journal Name Environmental Management
Editor Virginia H. Dale
Year Published 2008
Place of publication United States
Publisher Springer New York
Abstract On-farm water storage's (locally known as farm dams or farm ponds) are an important part of many agricultural landscapes as they provide a reliable source of water for irrigation and stock. Although these waterbodies are artificially constructed and morphologically simple, there is increasing interest in their potential role as habitat for native flora and fauna. In this paper, we present results from a case study which examined the habitat characteristics (such as water physical and chemical parameters, benthic metabolism, and macrophyte cover) and the macrophyte and macroinvertebrate biodiversity of eight farm ponds on four properties in the Stanley Catchment, Southeast Queensland, Australia. Each landowner was interviewed to allow a comparison of the management of the ponds with measured habitat and biodiversity characteristics, and to understand landowners' motivations in making farm pond management decisions. The physical and chemical water characteristics of the study ponds were comparable to the limited number of Australian farm ponds described in published literature. Littoral zones supported forty-five macroinvertebrate families, with most belonging to the orders Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Odonata and Diptera. Invertebrate community composition was strongly influenced by littoral zone macrophyte structure, with significant differences between ponds with high macrophyte cover compared to those with bare littoral zones. The importance of littoral zone macrophytes was also suggested by a significant positive relationship between invertebrate taxonomic richness and macrophyte cover. The landowners in this study demonstrated sound ecological knowledge of their farm ponds, but many had not previously acknowledged them as having high habitat value for native flora and fauna. If managed for aquatic organisms as well as reliable water sources, these artificial habitats may help to maintain regional biodiversity, particularly given the large number of farm ponds across the landscape.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-007-9037-7
Copyright Statement Copyright 2008 Springer. The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Volume 41
Issue Number 2
Page from 234
Page to 249
ISSN 0364-152X
Date Accessioned 2008-06-29
Language en_AU
Faculty Faculty of Science, Environment, Engineering and Technology
Subject PRE2009-Conservation; PRE2009-Environmental Management and Rehabilitation; PRE2009-Freshwater Ecology; PRE2009-Wildlife and Habitat Management
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/20206
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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