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Queensland wetland classification method

The Queensland wetland habitat classification scheme applies wetland attributes from which various wetland types can be derived for a range of wetland management purposes following the general wetland classification steps.

The attributes are included in the wetland mapping or can be derived from the underlying datasets which contribute to the wetland mapping. The scheme builds on the foundational work from the Queensland Wetland Mapping and Classification Methodology with further attributes developed for lacustrine and palustrine wetlands.

Lake Numulla, Photo by EHP

Quick facts

ANAE
stands for the Interim Australian National Aquatic Ecosystem (ANAE) Classification Framework. The Queensland wetland habitat classification scheme assisted with the cross-jurisdictional collaborations and was a key input to the development of the ANAE Classification Framework.  

Purpose

The purpose of the Queensland wetland habitat classification scheme (scheme) is to provide general attribute information for wetland habitats in Queensland based on hydro-geo-ecological drivers which has the potential for use in many different management applications. The scheme further refines the lacustrine and palustrine wetlands systems into wetland types. Lacustrine and palustrine wetlands the primary focus of the Queensland Wetlands Program which gave rise to the scheme.

The scheme provides a transparent, scientifically robust and logical approach to developing foundational ecological information upon which management, decision making and research can be built.

The scheme is flexible to ensure that the order in which the attributes are applied can be altered depending on data availability and the type of management question being asked allowing for the production of different typologies for different purposes.

The scheme integrates with other datasets in Queensland and allows for updating as new information becomes available.

Scale

The scale of the scheme needs to be at the level of the underlying data to which it is applied. The wetland mapping is provided at a 100,000 to 50,000 resolution and this is the sale of resolution required for the classification scheme. Some of the attributes are at a coarser scale (e.g. climate) but they have been applied to the individual habitat units.

Development and application of attributes

The attributes and thresholds are derived from a number of sources and the methods used to apply them are outlined in the mapping attribute table. These attributes and thresholds were chosen through extensive consultation processes with stakeholders as they represent some of the key drivers, based on wetland components and processes, for wetland habitat function. In some cases the attributes are expanded in the wetland mapping data while others require access to the contributing datasets to derive the attributes. For example, the dominant vegetation structure and soils are derived from regional ecosystem data and sometimes the attributes have been combined to represent a wetland type. In future mapping releases the full range of attributes will be included in the data.

Development of the method

While the scheme has been used for many different purposes (e.g. wetland management profiles and conceptual models for broad wetland types in Queensland) the following table provides an example of how the full list of attributes do not all need to be utilised at all times and how attributes can be combined and split for different typology outcomes. For the purpose of developing general management guidelines and conceptual models for broad wetland types in Queensland, a number of workshops were held with key stakeholders and the table below reflects the decisions to combine and split attributes to result in ecologically meaningful wetland types.  

When an attribute is not used to separate different wetland types it is not lost from the system but remains in the final types. For example, if the water type attribute is not used for splitting wetlands the final wetland type would include the range of water types in its description.  

As wetlands are diverse spatially and temporally, this scheme allows for identifying a range of habitat types that may form a wetland complex  (e.g. a lacustrine water body may have a palustrine fringe). Therefore it can be useful to look at two or more wetland conceptual models to get an idea of the complete picture of an individual wetland or wetland complex.

Advantages of the Queensland wetland habitat classification scheme are:

  • The classification scheme is based on key attributes of the components and processes underpinning Queensland’s wetlands
  • It can be adapted to management needs and data availability.
  • The classification scheme was one of the key drivers for the ANAE and can be translated to other systems as it includes a descriptive list of attributes. This allows for consistency in reporting across jurisdictions and for data collected using other classification schemes to still be utilised.
  • The attributes for the components and processes that form the basis of this system have been effectively applied at a statewide scale using wetland mapping and inventory in a Geographic Information System.
  • The classification scheme is effective for reporting at regional, state and national levels.
  • If additional attributes are considered important at a state or regional level, more refined wetland typologies can be developed. However, for the purpose of reporting nationally they can be combined and rigorously compared. The naming convention for the classification and resulting typologies is intuitive and descriptive, and relates directly to the key components driving the system.
  • The classification is exhaustive—all wetlands are covered.
  • The classification can underpin all subsequent management guidelines, indicators, science syntheses, conceptual models, literature reviews and more. These can be developed up based on the typology and can therefore be used appropriately according to relevant wetland habitat type.
Queensland wetland habitat typology: major wetland habitat types for wetland conceptual models and wetland management profiles
Wetland system Climatic zone Wetland substrate Water type Water regime Landscape geomorphology/ topography Vegetation Wetland name Conceptual model Wetland profile
Estuarine
A1 Estuarine All All All All All Trees (Mangroves) Mangrove Wetlands Not developed Mangrove Wetlands
A2 Estuarine All All All All All

Grass, Sedge, Herbs (Saltmarsh)

Saltmarsh Wetlands Not developed Saltmarsh Wetlands
Coastal and Subcoastal
1 Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All Saline All All All Coastal and subcoastal saline swamps of all substrates, water regimes, topographic types and vegetation communities Coastal and subcoastal saline swamps Coastal grass-sedge wetlands
2a Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All Fresh All Non-floodplain (depressional) Trees (Melaleuca and Eucalypt) Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain tree swamps (Melaleuca and Eucalypt)  of all substrates and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain tree swamps - melaleuca and eucalypt Coastal and subcoastal tree swamps
2b Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All Fresh All Non-floodplain (depressional) Wet Heath Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain wet heath swamps of all substrates and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain wet heath swamps Coastal and subcoastal wet heath swamps
2c Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All Fresh All Non-floodplain (depressional) Grasses, Sedges, Herbs Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain grass, sedge and herb swamps of all substrates and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain grass, sedge and herb swamps Coastal grass-sedge wetlands
3 Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All All All Non-floodplain (spring) All Coastal and subcoastal spring swamps of all substrates, water types, water regimes and vegetation communities. Coastal and subcoastal spring swamps

Great Artesian Basin spring wetlands

4a Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All Fresh All Floodplain Trees (Melaleuca and Eucalypt) Coastal and subcoastal floodplain tree swamps - melaleuca and eucalypt of all substrates and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal floodplain tree swamps - melaleuca and eucalypt Coastal and subcoastal tree swamps
4b Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All Fresh All Floodplain Wet Heath Coastal and subcoastal floodplain wet heath swamps of all substrates and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal floodplain wet heath swamps Coastal and subcoastal wet heath swamps
4c Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All Fresh All Floodplain Grasses, Sedges, Herbs Coastal and subcoastal floodplain, grass, sedge herb  swamps of all substrates and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal floodplain grass, sedge, herb swamps Coastal grass-sedge wetlands
5 Palustrine Coastal and subcoastal All Fresh All All Trees (Palm) Coastal and subcoastal tree swamps - palm of all substrates, topographic types and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal floodplain tree swamps - palm Coastal Palm Swamps
6 Lacustrine Coastal and subcoastal All All All Floodplain NA Coastal and subcoastal Floodplain Lakes of all substrates, water types and water regimes. Coastal and subcoastal Floodplain Lakes Coastal and subcoastal floodplain lakes and non-floodplain soil lakes
7 Lacustrine Coastal and subcoastal Rock All All Non-floodplain NA Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain rock lakes of all water types and water regimes Coastal subcoastal non-floodplain rock lakes Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain rock lakes
8a Lacustrine Coastal and subcoastal Sand Fresh All Non-floodplain (window) NA Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain sand lakes (window) of all water types and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain sand lakes - window Coastal non-floodplain sand lakes
8b Lacustrine Coastal and subcoastal Sand Fresh All Non-floodplain (Perched) NA Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain sand lakes (perched) of all water types and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain sand lakes - perched Coastal non-floodplain sand lakes
9 Lacustrine Coastal and subcoastal Mineral soils All All Non-floodplain NA Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain soil lakes of all water types and water regimes Coastal and subcoastal non-floodplain soil lakes Coastal and subcoastal floodplain lakes and non-floodplain soil lakes
Arid and semi-arid
10 Palustrine Arid and semi-arid All Saline All All All Arid and semi-arid saline swamps of all substrates, water regimes, topographic types and vegetation communities Arid and semi-arid saline swamps Semi-arid swamps
11a Palustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Floodplain Trees Arid and semi-arid fresh tree swamps of all substrates, and water regimes and topographic types Arid and semi-arid tree swamps

Arid swamps;

Semi-Arid swamps

11b Palustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Floodplain Lignum Arid and semi-arid lignum swamps of all substrates, and water regimes and topographic types Arid and semi-arid lignum swamps

Arid swamps;

Semi-Arid swamps

11c Palustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Floodplain Grasses, Sedges, Herbs Arid and semi-arid grass, sedge, herb swamps of all substrates, water regimes and topographic types Arid and semi-arid grass, sedge, herb swamps

Arid swamps;

Semi-Arid swamps

12a Palustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Non-floodplain Trees Arid and semi-arid fresh non-floodplain tree swamps of all substrates and water regimes Arid and semi-arid non-floodplain tree swamps

Arid swamps;

Semi-Arid swamps

12b Palustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Non-floodplain Lignum Arid and semi-arid fresh non-floodplain lignum swamps of all substrates and water regimes Arid and semi-arid non-floodplain lignum swamps

Arid swamps;

Semi-arid swamps

12c Palustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Non-floodplain Grasses, Sedges, Herbs Arid and semi-arid fresh non-floodplain grass, sedge, herb swamps of all substrates and water regimes Arid and semi-arid non-floodplain grass, sedge, herb swamps

Arid swamps;

Semi-Arid swamps

13 Palustrine Arid and semi-arid All All All Non-floodplain (spring) All Arid and semi-arid, non-floodplain swamps - springs of all substrates, water regimes and vegetation communities Arid and semi-arid spring swamps

Great Artesian Basin spring wetlands

14 Lacustrine Arid and semi-arid All Saline All All NA Arid and semi-arid, saline lakes of all substrates, topographic types and water regimes Arid and semi-arid saline lakes Arid and semi-arid lakes
15 Lacustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Floodplain NA Arid and semi-arid, floodplain lakes of all, substrates and water regimes Arid and semi-arid floodplain lakes Arid and semi-arid lakes
16a Lacustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Non-floodplain NA Arid and semi-arid, non-floodplain Lakes of all substrates and water regimes Arid and semi-arid non-floodplain lakes Arid and semi-arid lakes
16b Lacustrine Arid and semi-arid All Fresh All Non-floodplain (clay pans) NA Arid/ semi-arid, non-floodplain (clay pans) lakes of all substrates and water regimes Arid and semi-arid fresh non-floodplain lakes (clay pans) Arid and semi-arid lakes
17 Lacustrine Arid and semi-arid All All Permanent All NA Arid and semi-arid, Permanent Lakes permanently inundated lakes of all substrates, water types, topographic types and vegetation communities Arid and semi-arid permanent lakes Arid and semi-arid lakes

Last updated: 22 March 2013

This page should be cited as:

Queensland wetland classification method, WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland, viewed 1 August 2017, <https://wetlandinfo.ehp.qld.gov.au/wetlands/what-are-wetlands/definitions-classification/classification-systems-background/typology.html>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Heritage Protection