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Water 2014, 6(7), 2127-2143; doi:10.3390/w6072127

Rainfall Enhances Vegetation Growth but Does the Reverse Hold?

Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Boulevard, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia
Received: 7 March 2014 / Revised: 9 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resources in a Variable and Changing Climate)
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Abstract

In the literature, there is substantial evidence presented of enhancement of vegetation growth and regrowth with rainfall. There is also much research presented on the decline in rainfall with land clearance. This article deals with the well documented decline in rainfall in southwestWestern Australia and discusses the literature that has been presented as to the rationale for the decline. The original view was that it was the result of climate change. More recent research points to the compounding effect of land use change. In particular, one study estimated, through simulation work with atmospheric models, that up to 50% of the decline could be attributed to land use change. For South Australia, there is an examination the pattern of rainfall decline in one particular region, using Cummins on the Eyre Peninsula as an example location. There is a statistically significant decrease in annual rainfall over time in that location. This is mirrored for the vast majority of locations studied in South Australia, most probably having the dual drivers of climate and land use change. Conversely, it is found that for two locations, Murray Bridge and Callington, southeast of Adelaide, there is marginal evidence for an increase in annual rainfall over the last two decades, during which, incidentally, Australia experienced the most severe drought in recorded history. The one feature common to these two locations is the proximity to the Monarto plateau, which lies between them. It was the site of extensive revegetation in the 1970s. It is conjectured that there could be a connection between the increase in rainfall and the revegetation, and there is evidence presented from a number of studies for such a connection, though not specifically relating to this location. View Full-Text
Keywords: rainfall trends; land use; reforestation for water production rainfall trends; land use; reforestation for water production
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Boland, J. Rainfall Enhances Vegetation Growth but Does the Reverse Hold? Water 2014, 6, 2127-2143.

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