Lignum condition at Bottle Bend Reserve

ContactsFiona Freestone
Cherie Campbell
Funding BodyNew South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage
Duration2016–2017

Summary

Lignum in flower, September 2016 (photo: F Freestone)

Tangled Lignum (Duma florulenta (Meisn.) T. M. Schust; formerly known as Muehlenbeckia florulenta Meisn.), hereafter referred to as Lignum, is a shrub that dominates large areas of arid floodplain in Australia and provides important structural habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife. Lignum condition is strongly affected by soil moisture and is highly dependent on flooding regimes. Therefore, changes in flooding regimes, particularly in the Murray–Darling Basin, threaten the survival of Lignum plants. The delivery of environmental water can assist in helping to restore the condition of these important floodplain plants and their associated communities. Understanding how and when to deliver environmental water to optimise Lignum condition is important for their ongoing survival.

Objectives

The purpose of this project is to investigate the response of Lignum to consecutive environmental flows at Bottle Bend Reserve. The condition of Lignum will be compared across four watering regimes:

i)             three consecutive environmental flows

ii)            two consecutive environmental flows

iii)           one environmental flow

iv)           long-dry (not inundated for >20 years)

Lignum condition will also be assessed over time, including prior to and following environmental flows and across seasons.

Outcomes

    This project will improve our understanding of;

  • how quickly Lignum responds to the delivery of environmental flows
  • over what time frame a response in condition is observed (e.g. how long do the effects of environmental flows last in relation to Lignum condition)
  • the best time to monitor Lignum to observe optimal response to the delivery of environmental flows
  • Ultimately, this project will help to determine the effect of multiple, consecutive environmental flows on the condition and response of Lignum. This information will help progress our ability to manage floodplain landscapes for the purpose of improving the condition of Lignum communities.