A novel course for South Creek catchment
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 10:43 authored by Elisha Duxbury
The traditional goal of restoration ecology to return ecosystems to their historical conditions is increasingly unfeasible due to high levels of disturbance and ongoing threatening processes such as climate change. A new approach to restoration, termed ‘renewal ecology,’ has been proposed, recognising the need to harmonise biodiversity with human infrastructure, for the benefit of both.This project uses the renewal ecology framework to examine how a degraded ecological riparian community could be transformed into a novel community with high human amenity and biodiversity values. Five sites along creeks in Western Sydney were surveyed to provide benchmark data for the proposed restoration. Measurements at each location included vegetation characteristics and bird diversity as an indicator of biodiversity value and habitat quality of each site. Surveys were also distributed to the Western Sydney community to investigate the attitudes to, and preferences of, local residents to green space. This project thus had three complementary objectives. First, the data collected on the composition of the vegetation communities will inform restoration and management practices for the degraded riparian sites. Second, the relationship of bird diversity to habitat structure will indicate the suitability of native and novel vegetation communities as habitat along riparian corridors. Third, linking the outcomes from the ecological studies with the landscape preferences of Western Sydney residents will inform the design of recreational spaces that will not only benefit biodiversity but also have high value to the local community.