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Land 2016, 5(4), 40; doi:10.3390/land5040040

Accounting for the Drivers that Degrade and Restore Landscape Functions in Australia

1
School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
2
Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University, Linnaeus Way, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jeffrey Sayer and Chris Margules
Received: 25 July 2016 / Revised: 5 October 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity in Locally Managed Lands)
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Abstract

Assessment and reporting of changes in vegetation condition at site and landscape scales is critical for land managers, policy makers and planers at local, regional and national scales. Land management, reflecting individual and collective values, is used to show historic changes in ecosystem structure, composition and function (regenerative capacity). We address the issue of how the resilience of plant communities changes over time as a result of land management regimes. A systematic framework for assessing changes in resilience based on measurable success criteria and indicators is applied using 10 case studies across the range of Australia’s agro-climate regions. A simple graphical report card is produced for each site showing drivers of change and trends relative to a reference state (i.e., natural benchmark). These reports enable decision makers to quickly understand and assimilate complex ecological processes and their effects on landscape degradation, restoration and regeneration. We discuss how this framework assists decision-makers explain and describe pathways of native vegetation that is managed for different outcomes, including maintenance, replacement, removal and recovery at site and landscape levels. The findings provide sound spatial and temporal insights into reconciling agriculture, conservation and other competing land uses. View Full-Text
Keywords: land management; ecosystem structure; composition; function; tracking change; monitoring; reporting; anthropogenic; transformation; plant communities; vegetation land management; ecosystem structure; composition; function; tracking change; monitoring; reporting; anthropogenic; transformation; plant communities; vegetation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Thackway, R.; Freudenberger, D. Accounting for the Drivers that Degrade and Restore Landscape Functions in Australia. Land 2016, 5, 40.

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