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Modelling future vegetation states for the management of shallow groundwater resources in water-limited ecosystems

The combined pressure of decreasing rainfall, changes in land-use and the use of groundwater for Perth’s water supply has impacted on the biodiverse remnant vegetation of the Perth region. Long-term monitoring of vegetation has shown changes to species composition and abundance associated with lower rainfall and drawdown in water tables. However, do the changes observed in these remnant woodlands represent a transition toward a new equilibrium between vegetation biomass and reduced water availability?

Investigations into Banksia woodland structure and function along spatio-temporal ecohydrological gradients are being conducted by ECU researchers to assist decision-making for the conservation and management of phreatophytic vegetation in this drying landscape. Relationships between groundwater availability and vegetation structure, and evapotranspiration are being assessed to identify potential future states of woodland. A response function between water availability and the productivity of vegetation will assist with the management of Banksia woodlands in a drying climate.

Funding agency

Water Corporation of WA, Department of Water and Department of Park and Wildlife

Seeking students?

Interested students are encouraged to contact Professor Ray Froend.

Project duration



Professor Ray Froend
Dr Caroline Canham
Dr Serena Hamilton
Adjunct Associate Professor Dr Richard Silberstein
Dr David Blake

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