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Keywords:

  • upland swamp;
  • endangered ecosystem;
  • geomorphic condition;
  • community participation;
  • river rehabilitation;
  • adaptive management;
  • prioritisation

Abstract

The Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, including the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park, is arguably one of Australia's most highly valued and iconic wilderness areas. Common to this region are upland swamps (formally ‘temperate highland peat swamps on sandstone’), which play a vital hydrological role at the headwaters of the river catchments, as well as providing the habitat for an array of flora and fauna species. This paper involves an interdisciplinary examination into the need and potential for adaptive management in the Blue Mountains. It uses geomorphic (physical) knowledge of swamp condition and social data about the volunteers who rehabilitate them. Research involved using the River Styles river condition framework across 47 swamps and questionnaires and interviews with local rehabilitation volunteers. It is proposed that there is a need and a potential to combine geomorphic understanding with further engagement of community volunteers in order to enable an interdisciplinary approach to adaptive management. Such an approach could result in the effective environmental management of upland swamps in the Blue Mountains.