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Seasonal and year-to-year changes in vegetation of freshwater wetlands on the Hawkesbury-Nepean floodplain

Authors:

Jocelyn Howell ,

Doug Benson

Abstract

Coastal floodplain wetlands in southeastern Australia are subject to irregular fluctuations in moisture in terms of magnitude, duration and frequency. These interact with geomorphology over seasonal and year-to-year time scales to produce different habitats at different times. In freshwater wetlands on the Hawkesbury-Nepean River floodplain near Sydney in coastal New South Wales, major structural changes in vegetation following varying seasonal and weather conditions were observed over a period of seven years. The visible component of wetland plant species varied greatly within the yearly cycle of seasons, and from year to year in the same season depending on conditions. Examples from dominant species show that plant life cycle attributes, interacting with fluctuating biophysical conditions, provide the mechanisms for coping with habitat variation. Life cycle attributes that vary between species include longevity, propagule production and propagule availability. These respond to cues of flooding and drying out, and interact with temperature. Our observations highlight the importance of maintaining natural regimes of water level fluctuations, including periodic drying out, to retain species richness
How to Cite: Howell, J. and Benson, D., 2006. Seasonal and year-to-year changes in vegetation of freshwater wetlands on the Hawkesbury-Nepean floodplain. Wetlands Australia, 23(1), pp.pp. 20–36. DOI: http://doi.org/10.31646/wa.287
Published on 08 Mar 2006.
Peer Reviewed

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