ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Koondrook-Perricoota floodplain carbon sources (2020-2021)

Funding

Forestry Corporation of NSW, $79,273

Researchers/investigators

Professor Robyn Watts, Dr Xiaoying Liu,  Dr Nicole McCasker, Dr Gregory Doran and Professor Darren Baldwin

Research theme

Sustainable Water

Description

Extensive overbank flooding in the Koondrook-Pericoota Forest in 2010 and 2016 resulted in export and decomposition of carbon from the floodplain and subsequent death of aquatic organisms downstream due to hypoxia.

While research to date has highlighted the potential benefits to primary production from carbon exports, as well as the complexity of the processes that lead to hypoxia, a clearer understanding of the sources of bioavailable carbon and the decomposition process will assist water managers to optimise the benefits of flood return water from the floodplain while minimising the risk of downstream hypoxia.

This project aims to improve our understanding of the sources of carbon exported during flooding and the mode of decomposition of that carbon. Field surveys will be undertaken to examine the spatial variation in bulk carbon loading and sources (e.g. in soil, vegetation, leaf litter, bark and twigs) in different parts of the forest that have different history of flooding. A laboratory experiment will be undertaken to examine carbon release from different types of leaf litter, vegetation and soil from the forest. Information from the field assessment and experiment will be input into a blackwater risk assessment model to provide information that will aid the management of floodwater return from the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest.

Outputs

A report including a number of different simulations of the blackwater risk model will be written for Forestry Corporation

A presentation on the project will be given to Forestry Corporation and at other forums or conferences

The results will be published in a refereed journal

Outcomes

The project intends to help inform water management by quantifying carbon leachate potential across the floodplain and formulating hypoxic blackwater risk mitigation strategies

Contact:

Professor Robyn Watts

Albury-Wodonga campus

Email

February 2021