Richard Kingsford

Professor Richard Kingsford
Role: Professor of Environmental Science and Director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science
Field of Research: Freshwater Ecology, Environmental Management, Zoology, Conservation
Contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9385 3442
Office: Room 567, D26 Building, UNSW, Kensington 2052

 

 

Richard's UNSW research profile and publications

Articles on The Conversation

Profile on ABC's Catalyst

 

Publications

Author Date Title Link PDF
Kingsford 2017 Submission on proposed Basin Plan amendments for the Northern Basin

Scientific evidence supports an increase in environmental flows to achieve sustainability for the environmental assets of the Northern Basin and the Murray-Darling Basin, beyond the 390GLs per year. The proposed reduction of 70 GL per year will continue to drive ongoing degradation of northern basin environmental values and ecosystem services provided by rivers, requiring future adjustments to provide more water for the rivers, particularly with the increasing effects of climate change of increasing temperatures and potential changes to run-off. This submission identifies eight major concerns which clearly show there is insufficient evidence for a recommendation to reduce the environmental flow target of the Northern Basin of the Murray-Darling Basin. The submission provides 10 reasons for supporting this position of rejecting the recommendations for reductions in water recovery.

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Kingsford et al. 2017 Continental impacts of water development on waterbirds, contrasting two Australian river basins: Global implications for sustainable water use

Abstract 

The world’s freshwater biotas are declining in diversity, range and abundance, morethan in other realms, with human appropriation of water. Despite considerable dataon the distribution of dams and their hydrological effects on river systems, there arefew expansive and long analyses of impacts on freshwater biota. We investigatedtrends in waterbird communities over 32 years, (1983–2014), at three spatial scales intwo similarly sized large river basins, with contrasting levels of water resource devel-opment, representing almost a third (29%) of Australia: the Murray–Darling Basin andthe Lake Eyre Basin. The Murray–Darling Basin is Australia’s most developed riverbasin (240 dams storing 29,893 GL) while the Lake Eyre Basin is one of the less devel-oped basins (1 dam storing 14 GL). We compared the long-term responses of water-bird communities in the two river basins at river basin, catchment and major wetlandscales. Waterbird abundances were strongly related to river flows and rainfall. For thedeveloped Murray–Darling Basin, we identified significant long-term declines in totalabundances, functional response groups (e.g., piscivores) and individual species ofwaterbird (n = 50), associated with reductions in cumulative annual flow. These trendsindicated ecosystem level changes. Contrastingly, we found no evidence of waterbirddeclines in the undeveloped Lake Eyre Basin. We also modelled the effects of the Aus-tralian Government buying up water rights and returning these to the riverine environ-ment, at a substantial cost (>3.1 AUD billion) which were projected to partly (18%improvement) restore waterbird abundances, but projected climate change effectscould reduce these benefits considerably to only a 1% or 4% improvement, withrespective annual recovery of environmental flows of 2,800 GL or 3,200 GL. Ourunique large temporal and spatial scale analyses demonstrated severe long-term eco-logical impact of water resource development on prominent freshwater animals, withimplications for global management of water resources.

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Rees et al. 2017 In the absence of an apex predator, irruptive herbivores suppress grass seed production: Implications for small granivores

Abstract

Many examples exist of species disappearing shortly after the extinction of a previously co-occurring apex predator, however processes connecting these events are often obscure. In Australian deserts, dingo Canis dingo eradication is associated with declines in abundances of small granivorous birds, even though dingoes and these flying birds rarely directly interact. We hypothesised that dingoes facilitate small granivores by reducing populations of large, grazing kangaroos Macropus spp., thereby increasing grass seed production and availability. To test this prediction, we monitored kangaroo abundances and surveyed grass seed production and biomass of native pastures in matched, desert habitats with dingoes and where dingoes were functionally extinct. Dingo absence was associated with 99.9% greater abundances of kangaroos, 88% - 98% lower pasture biomasses and 85% - 97% lower densities of grass seed heads. To test that these vegetation effects were related to kangaroo grazing, we constructed large herbivore exclosures in areas where dingoes where functionally extinct and there were no grazing livestock. After three years of kangaroo exclusion, pasture biomass and grass seed production were each 87% greater than in adjacent, grazed control plots. Regeneration of vegetation within the kangaroo exclosures demonstrated that kangaroo grazing was responsible for the differences in native pastures we had observed associated with the functional extinction of dingoes. Our results indicate that reduction of grass seed availability by kangaroo grazing is a likely explanation for the relative rarity of small granivorous birds in areas where dingoes are functionally extinct. In areas where apex predators have been eradicated, reintroducing and conserving apex predators or intensively controlling mammalian herbivores would be necessary to mitigate destructive herbivory.

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Kingsford 2017 The integrity of the water market in the Murray-Darling Basin View PDF
Bino et al. 2015 Prioritizing Wetlands for Waterbirds in a Boom and Bust System: Waterbird Refugia and Breeding in the Murray-Darling Basin

A systematic prioritisation of wetlands for waterbirds, across about 13.5% of the Murray-Darling Basin, using a 30-year record of systematic aerial surveys of waterbird populations.

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Kingsford 2015 From barriers to limits to climate change adaptation: path dependency and the speed of change

This review examines the broad-ranging effects of climate change with respect to six case studies: the Australian Alps, the Coorong and Lower Lakes, the Great Barrier Reef, the Macquarie Marshes, small inland communities affected by drought and the Torres Strait Islands.

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Kingsford et al. 2015 A commentary on ‘Long-term ecological trends of flow-dependent ecosystems in a major regulated river basin’, by Colloff et al.

Colloff et al. in Marine and Freshwater Research (http:dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF14067) examined time-series data for flow-dependent vegetation, invertebrates, fish, frogs, reptiles and waterbirds in the Murray–Darling Basin, 1905–2013. They concluded that temporal patterns fluctuated, declining during droughts and recovering after floods. They suggested that major changes in land use in the late 19th century permanently modified these freshwater ecosystems, irretrievably degrading them before major water diversions. Restoring water to the environment might then be interpreted as not addressing biotic declines. We argue that their conclusions are inadequately supported, although data quality remains patchy and they neglected the influence of hydrology and the timing and extent of water resource development. We are critical of the lack of adequate model specification and the omission of statistical power analyses. We show that declines of native flow-dependent flora and fauna have continued through the 20th and early 21st centuries, in response to multiple factors, including long-term changes in flow regimes. We argue that flow-regime changes have been critical, but not in isolation. So, returning water to the environment is a prerequisite for sustained recovery but governments need to improve monitoring and analyses to adequately determine effectiveness of management of the rivers and wetlands of the Murray–Darling Basin.

Full text: http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=MF15185

Catelotti et al. 2015 Inundation Requirements for Persistence and Recovery of River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) in Semi-arid Australia

The building of dams and diversion from rivers has had a major impact on the wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin. The Macquarie Marshes is one of the better studied of these wetlands. It is a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, one which the Australian Government has formally notified the Ramsar Bureau of likely ecological change in character, predominantly because of the impacts of water resource development. To read the publication click here

Bino et al. 2015 Life history and dynamics of a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) population: four decades of mark-recapture surveys

Knowledge of the life-history and population dynamics of Australia’s iconic and evolutionarily distinct platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) remains poor. We marked-recaptured 812 unique platypuses (total 1,622 captures), over four decades (1973–2014) in the Shoalhaven River, Australia. Strong sex-age differences were observed in life-history, including morphology and longevity. Apparent survival of adult females (Φ = 0.76) were higher than adult males (Φ = 0.57), as in juveniles: females Φ = 0.27, males Φ = 0.13. Females were highly likely to remain in the same pool (adult: P = 0.85, juvenile: P = 0.88), while residency rates were lower for males (adult: P = 0.74, juvenile: P = 0.46). We combined survival, movement and life-histories to develop population viability models and test the impact of a range of life-history parameters. While using estimated apparent survival produced unviable populations (mean population growth rate r = −0.23, extinction within 20 years), considering residency rates to adjust survival estimates, indicated more stable populations (r = 0.004, p = 0.04 of 100-year extinction). Further sensitivity analyses highlighted adult female survival and overall success of dispersal as most affecting viability. Findings provide robust life-history and viability estimates for a difficult study species. These could support developing large-scale population dynamics models required to underpin a much needed national risk assessment for the platypus, already declining in parts of its current distribution.

Online: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16073

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Bino et al. 2015 Developing State and Transition Models of Floodplain Vegetation Dynamics as a Tool for Conservation Decision-making: a Case Study of the Macquarie Marshes Ramsar Wetland

Freshwater ecosystems provide a range of critical services including clean water, food, power as well as recreational and tourism. Although covering only a fraction of the earth’s surface (0.8%), freshwater ecosystems harbour a considerable proportion of biodiversity worldwide. They are also among the more vulnerable, degrading in quality and extent at disturbing rates. Australia’s freshwater ecosystems are no exception. Degradation has predominately been driven by increasing freshwater demand and construction of dams, diminishing and altering the flow of water. To read the publication click here

Porter and Kingsford 2014 Aerial Survey of Wetland Birds in Eastern Australia - October 2014 Annual Summary Report View PDF
Bino et al. 2014 Maximizing colonial waterbirds' breeding events using identified ecological thresholds and environmental flow management

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Kingsford et al. 2014 Birds of the Murray-Darling Basin

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Bino et al. 2014 Identifying minimal sets of survey techniques for multi-species monitoring across landscapes: An approach utilising species distribution models

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Kingsford et al. 2013 Waterbird communities in the Murray-Darling Basin, 1983-2012 View PDF
Jenkins et al. 2013 Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Lower Murrumbidgee River and wetlands, 2011‐2012.
Steinfeld et al. 2013 Semi-automated GIS techniques for detecting floodplain earthworks

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Boulton et al. 2013 Good news: Progress in successful conservation and restoration.
Binder et al. 2013 Emergence, growth, ageing and provisioning of Providence Petrel (Pterodroma solandri) chicks: implications for translocation

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Dahm et al. 2013 The role of science in planning, policy and conservation of river ecosystems: Examples from Australia and the United States
Porter and Kingsford 2013 Aerial Survey of Wetland Birds in Eastern Australia - October 2013 Annual Summary Report View PDF
Kingsford and McCann 2013 Adequacy of environmental assessment of the proposed Macquarie River pipeline to the city of Orange View PDF
Bino et al. 2013 Niche evolution in Australian terrestrial mammals? Clarifying scale-dependencies in phylogenetic and functional drivers of co-occurrence

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AWRLC 2013 AWRLC Annual Report 2012 View PDF
Bino et al. 2013 Improving bioregional frameworks for conservation by including mammal distributions

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Keith et al. 2013 Scientific foundations for an IUCN Red List of ecosystems

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Bino et al. 2013 Adaptive management of Ramsar wetlands View PDF
Ocock et al. 2013 Amphibian chytrid prevalence in an amphibian community in arid Australia

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Lindenmayer et al. 2012 Improving biodiversity monitoring

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Arthur et al. 2012 Breeding flow thresholds of colonial breeding waterbirds in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

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Porter and Kingsford 2012 Aerial Survey of Wetland Birds in Eastern Australia - October 2012 Annual Summary Report View PDF
Melrose et al. 2012 Using radar to detect flooding in arid wetlands and rivers

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Nairn and Kingsford 2012 Wetland distribution and land use in the Murray-Darling Basin View PDF
Kingsford et al. 2012 National Waterbird Assessment

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Kingsford and Biggs 2012 Strategic adaptive management: guidelines for effective conservation of freshwater ecosystems in and around protected areas of the world View PDF
Kingsford and Porter 2012 Waterbird monitoring in Australia: value, challenges and lessons learnt after more than 25 years

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Porter et al. 2011 Aerial Survey of Wetland Birds in Eastern Australia - October 2011 Annual Summary Report View PDF
Brandis et al. 2011 Crisis water management and ibis breeding at Narran Lakes in arid Australia
Ridoutt and Kingsford 2011 Organohalogenated pollutants in Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) eggs View PDF
Gawne et al. 2011 A Review of River Ecosystem Condition in the Murray-Darling Basin View PDF
Jenkins et al. 2011 Climate change and freshwater ecosystems in Oceania: an assessment of vulnerability and adaptation opportunities
Kingsford 2011 Conservation management of rivers and wetlands under climate change - a synthesis

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Jenkins et al. 2011 Invertebrate monitoring and modeling in the Macquarie Marshes
Nairn et al. 2011 A case study of risks to flows and floodplain ecosystems posed by structures on the Macquarie Floodplain View PDF
Ren and Kingsford 2011 Statistically Integrated Flow and Flood Modelling Compared to Hydrologically Integrated Quantity and Quality Model for Annual Flows in the Regulated Macquarie River in Arid Australia

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Brandis et al. 2011 Lowbidgee 2010/2011 Colonial Waterbird Breeding View PDF
Kingsford and Hankin 2010 The impact of the proposed Tillegra Dam on the Hunter River Estuary, its Ramsar wetland and migratory shorebirds View PDF
Kingsford 2010 Recent salinity trends in the Hunter River Estuary - implications for proposed building of Tillegra Dam View PDF
Blackwood et al. 2010 The effect of river red gum decline on woodland birds in the Macquarie Marshes View PDF
Kingsford et al. 2010 Measuring ecosystem responses to flow across organism scales. Northern Basin Southern Basin: Ecosystem Response Modelling in the Murray Darling Basin
Jenkins et al. 2009 Developing Indicators for Floodplain Wetlands: Managing Water in Agricultural Landscapes
Jenkins et al. 2009 Waterbird diet, foraging and food analysis: Narran Lakes ibis breeding event 2008
Armstrong et al. 2009 The effect of regulating the Lachlan River on the Booligal Wetlands - the floodplain red gum swamps View PDF
Brandis et al. 2009 Environmental Watering for Waterbirds in The Living Murray Icon Sites View PDF
Rayner et al. 2009 Small environmental flows, drought and the role of refugia for freshwater fish in the Macquarie Marshes, arid Australia
Brandis et al. 2009 Preliminary assessment for the environmental water requirements of waterbird species in the Murray Darling Basin View PDF
Kingsford et al. 2009 Engineering a crisis in a Ramsar wetland: the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth, Australia View PDF
Kingsford et al. 2008 A case study: floodplain development on the Paroo River, the last free-flowing river in the Murray-Darling Basin View PDF
Green et al. 2008 The potential role of waterbirds in dispersing invertebrates and plants in arid Australia
Kingsford et al. 2008 Waterbrid response to flooding in the northern Murray-Darling Basin 2008 View PDF
Kingsford 2007 Heritage Rivers: new directions for the protection of Australia's high conservation rivers, wetlands and estuaries
Young et al. 2006 Modelling monthly streamflows in two Australian dryland rivers: Matching model complexity to spatial scale and data availability
Kingsford et al. 2004 Classifying landform at broad spatial scales: the distribution and conservation of wetlands in New South Wales, Australia
Kingsford et al. 2004 Imposed hydrological stability on lakes in arid Australia and effects on waterbirds
Kingsford et al. 1994 Waterbirds and Wetlands in Northwestern New South Wales View PDF
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