Plant form and function from an ecohydrological perspective in the Australian arid zone, with reference to mine-site rehabilitation

Eli Hoy

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    446 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] Mining is the most important economic activity in the Australian arid region, and mine-site rehabilitation is a fundamental part of mining operations. The duration and intensity of water deficit in these regions make water availability the principal limiting factor for plant growth and survival in both natural and rehabilitated systems. Post-mining landforms represent a novel ecosystem where substrates used in construction may differ in material properties from those in the surrounding natural environment. Yet, if an understanding of the material properties of available substrates coupled with an understanding of the physiological requirements of prospective plant species is assessed early in mine-site development, appropriate stockpiling of materials may aid in the success of post-mining land rehabilitation. Woody shrubs from the Acacia genus and perennial hummock grasses of the Triodia genus are dominant components of plant communities across the Australian arid zone. Acacia species are frequently used in rehabilitated ecosystems, because native legume species are often good colonisers and allow efficient water and nutrient cycling. Triodia species are also important, but their establishment in rehabilitation settings has so far met with limited success. This PhD project aimed to study the physiological functioning of Acacia- and Triodia-dominated communities and their associated hydrology in the Telfer region of the Great Sandy Desert in north-western Australia, in the context of mine-site rehabilitation.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

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