In September 2000, the ASL established a working group to explore the issue of representative reserves, with a view to promoting discussion on the issue, and making appropriate recommendations relevant to the ASL’s charter. The ASL has already published policy statements on several important aquatic issues, and a draft policy on representative reserves, or a draft policy on the use of protected areas to conserve important freshwater ecosystems, could be developed following circulation of this discussion paper.
The working group is comprised of ASL members. The working group also established a wider reference group taking in both ASL members, experts from related fields, and other interested persons. Information on the working group (including membership lists for both the working group and the reference group) is available through the ASL's website: http://www.asl.org.au/, and the membership of the working and reference groups is listed below in Appendix 11. Indigenous representatives were invited to joint the reference group, but did not participate.
The working group has authored this discussion paper. An initial draft was developed by Jon Nevill (convenor of the working group) and Ngaire Phillips, who are the editors of the document. Contributions by other working group members, as well as comments by reference group members have been incorporated into the resourcebook.
We would particularly like to thank Bob Pressey and Hugh Possingham, for discussions on reserve identification and selection, and Gary Brierley for insights into river geomorphology issues. Tony Ladson contributed many key insights, as did Andrew Boulton, Richard Kingsford, Janet Stein, Max Finlayson, Jim Tait, Richard Norris and Bill Phillips. The resourcebook also owes a debt to a number of scientists and managers outside both the working group and the reference group, in particular Helen Dunn and Richard Thackway. Special thanks too to Tracie Dean, Natasha Grainger, Theo Stephens and Lindsay Chadderton from the New Zealand Department of Conservation. Jessemy Long, Doug Hooley, Imogen Zethoven, and Peter Unmack also made important contributions.
In regard to the discussion of inventories of freshwater ecosystems, this book owes much to the work and helpful assistance of: Andy Spate, Angus Duguid, Bill Humphreys, Bill Logan, Bob Pressey, Brian Timms, Bruce Chessman, Bruce Cummings, Cecilia Tram, Colin Creighton, Damian Green, David Moffat, David Outhet, Dean Gilligan, Gavin Blackman, Glenn Conroy, Jane Bateson, Jane Gough, Janet Stein, Jim Tait, Judy Faulks, Martin Read, Max Finlayson, Mick Hillman, Penny Paton, Peter Newall, Richard Miller, Sarah Pizzey, Stuart Minchin, Terry Loos and Tim Bond. The Inventory Construction section draws heavily on the work of Blackman, Duguid and Finlayson. Janet Stein assisted with wild river database information. Damian Green and Deborah Nias assisted with information on the River Murray Wetland Database. Mark Lintermans assisted with information on the Australian Capital Territory. Bruce Chessman, Nick Gartrell and Dean Gillian assisted with information on the New South Wales situation. Angus Duguid, Max Finlayson, Mike Butler and Judy Faulks assisted with information on the Northern Territory. Gavin Blackman, David Moffatt, Roger Jaensch, Malcolm Dunning, and Karen Danaher assisted with information on Queensland. Tim Bond and Russell Seaman assisted with the South Australian section. Stewart Blackhall assisted with the Tasmanian section. Janet Holmes, Stuart Minchin and Paul Wilson assisted with the Victorian section. The Western Australian section draws on papers and comments by Bill Humphreys, Stuart Halse, Jim Lane, Roger Jaensch, Romeny Lynch, and Sue Elscot.
Peter Goonan supplied comment on South Australia’s water quality policy. Janet Stein, Jim Tait, Annette Maclean and Stuart Blanch assisted with the development of Chapter 7.
Peter Manins provided invaluable editorial assistance.
Special thanks also to WWF Australia for assistance with a portion of the costs of printing this document.
2.4 Scope and terminology
The scope of this document includes all inland aquatic ecosystems. To be more specific, it includes all inland aquatic ecosystems described by the Ramsar Convention definition of “wetland”. This definition41 (in brief) encompasses both fresh and saline, flowing and still, and surface and subterranean ecosystems. In other words, the resourcebook covers rivers, lakes, artificially constructed reservoirs, wetlands (ie: lentic wetlands - using the more limited definition of wetlands current in Australia), salt-marsh, aquifers and karst systems, and estuaries whose ecosystems are significantly dependent on inflow from rivers, streams and aquifers.
Apart from brief references to international agreements and programs in other countries, the scope of the resourcebook is confined to Australia and New Zealand.
The most widely accepted definition of ‘protected area’ is that of the IUCN. Protected areas, as defined by the World Conservation Union (IUCN 1994) are areas of land and/or water “especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means”. The definition has three key elements. The area must be under defined management (i.e. an agreed management plan should exist). Secondly, actual management arrangements must effectively reduce at least one major threat to the area's values (i.e. value and condition should be monitored and reported over time). Thirdly the area must have secure tenure (preferably through statute). The IUCN lists 6 categories of protected area, from full protection through to multiple use (see Appendix 1 below).
Where the term “freshwater ecosystem” is used, this includes all habitats covered by the Ramsar definition of the term “wetland” (see Appendix 8), notably including river, aquifer, ephemeral wetland, and estuarine ecosystems (where such ecosystem is heavily dependent on freshwater flows).
Where the term “wetland” is used, unless it is specifically mentioned that the Ramsar definition is being used in that particular context, the term equates to the definition used in the Commonwealth Wetlands Policy (see Appendix 8). This definition adopts the more conventional Australian usage of the word, and excludes estuaries, aquifer and river ecosystems, which the Ramsar definition includes.
The term “reserve” used here means tracts of land and/or water, over which particular management regimes are applied42, so as to meet the definitions of the IUCN protected area classes I-IV (see Appendix 1) in which direct human intervention and modification are limited43.
"Freshwater" in this resourcebook is used as a shorthand term for inland waters (as distinct from marine waters). The central arguments of the book apply equally to inland saline ecosystems, or coastal brackish systems heavily dependent on river or groundwater flow. It should be noted that the term "freshwater" has currency as a keyword for searching subjects covered in this paper.
Where 'representative freshwater reserves' are discussed, these include all inland aquatic ecosystems: lakes, wetlands, karst and other underground ecosystems, rivers and their associated channels, billabongs, and immediate surrounds (including sub-surface ecosystems). Where the ecologies of estuaries are dominated (sometimes seasonally) by inland water flows rather than marine influences, these too are included.
The term 'representative' can generally be taken (depending on context) as shorthand for 'comprehensive, adequate and representative' within the meaning attributed to that phrase in the proceedings of the CoP meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity 1992, and the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity 1996 (discussed further below).
Where the term 'groundwater' is used, this refers to all subsurface water.
Where the term 'intrinsic value' is used, this refers to strictly non-human values. For example, many ecosystems contain elements of little or no apparent use from a human perspective. Recognising intrinsic values of these elements acknowledges that humans share this planet with other species, and these species have an inherent right to exist alongside human use of the planet’s resources. (see: http://www.onlyoneplanet.com/Intrinsic_value.htm )
‘Biodiversity’ is the variety of living organisms, their genes and the ecosystems of which they form a part. An ‘ecosystem’ is a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit (as defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity, June 1992).
'Catchment management' in this book means natural resource management within catchment boundaries, and covers the integrated management of land, water and biological resources. However, this book does not concern itself with terrestrial issues in this context, simply to avoid diluting the focus of the book on water-related issues.
Australia has six States and two Territories, forming the middle level in a three-tiered government structure. The word 'State' is used in this book to encompass all eight jurisdictions in shorthand form, including the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.