River floodplains are among the most dynamic and diverse ecosystems on the planet. They are at risk of degradation due to river regulation and climate change. Floodplain vegetation is one of the components affected.
Environmental water can be delivered to floodplains to maintain environmental health. However, informed decisions about how much water to deliver, and when, require accurate models of how vegetation respond to watering events. These models can be informed and improved through monitoring of these responses. This is the essence of adaptive management, an important part of the new practice of active management of environmental water. Existing ground-based monitoring programs are time intensive and require considerable resources.
This PhD project will therefore investigate the influence of hydrology and climate change on floodplain vegetation using remote sensing technology. Taking a connected floodplain-lakes system --- Hattah Lakes, north-west Victoria, as a study area, and considering the change of hydrological factors in a distributed water balance model, environmental water management strategies for vegetation health under different climate scenarios will be constructed.
As well as the improvement in fundamental understanding of floodplain hydrology-vegetation linkage, the results will provide technical support to environmental water management to restore and maintain vegetation health under climate change.
Department of Infrastructure Engineering
Faculty of Engineering & IT
University of Melbourne