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Australian National Aquatic Ecosystem (ANAE) Classification Scheme. Overview and Status. Estuarine-Marine Workshop, Canberra 14 th May 2013. Christopher Auricht and Sarah Imgraben. Why do we need a national Classification?.

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Australian national aquatic ecosystem anae classification scheme

Australian National Aquatic Ecosystem (ANAE) Classification Scheme

Overview and Status

Estuarine-Marine Workshop, Canberra 14th May 2013

Christopher Auricht and Sarah Imgraben

Why do we need a national classification
Why do we need a national Classification? Scheme

  • Not possible to manage aquatic systems if you don’t know where they are, what theyare, and how they function. (Plus information on values, threatening processes & changes over time)

  • Need to represent the broad range of systems in simple meaningful, discrete and ecologically relevant groups

Australian national aquatic ecosystem anae classification scheme

Aquatic Systems Scheme

Riverine (+ fringing vegetation)

Lake – Lacustrine

Estuarine & Marine

Vegetated swamp – Palustrine

Integrated system

Riv Scheme



Pal (GDE)


Riv (GDE)


Lac (GDE)


Integrated System

Overall ae adaptive mgmt framework where classification fits current understanding

Mapping Scheme




Threatened Sp


Climate Change


Overall AE Adaptive Mgmt Framework - Where Classification Fits (Current Understanding)

What they are

Applications for classification

How they function

Values, services, threats & pressures

Where they are

How are they changing - monitoring

Requirements for generic national system
Requirements for Generic National System Scheme

  • Applicable at multiple scales (spatial and temporal)

  • Integrate between different aquatic habitats (functional aspects and connectivity)

  • Utilise and integrate existing national datasets (remote sensing)

  • Translation with jurisdictional databases / systems

  • Workable with different levels of data availability (data rich, data poor)

  • Transparent, comprehensive, inclusive, easy to use

  • Scientifically rigorous

Classification approaches
Classification Approaches Scheme

  • Unstructured – list e.g. Ramsar, DIWA

  • Abiotic - driver based e.g. River Styles, estuarine, hydrogeomorphic

  • Biological - bottom-up, species e.g. State-based bioregionalisations

  • Holistic – combination of abiotic and biotic

    e.g. Cowardin, IBRA, IMCRA, ANAE

Anae key features
ANAE: Key Features Scheme

  • Based on clearly defined and described attributes at three levels (two regionalisations)

  • Attributes are key drivers of ecological functioning at different levels

  • Attributes link to each other in different systems

  • Allows for a combination of attributes (system) used to determine habitat ‘type’ but types are not specified within the system

  • Structured but non-hierarchical at system and habitat level

  • Not all attributes are needed or available all the time

Spatial scales
Spatial Scales Scheme

Level 3 Site / Asset Delineation


Level 1
Level 1 Scheme

A broad driver based AE Regionalisation:

  • Landform – broad scale physiographic units from existing national regionalisation datasets provide the bio-geographic and evolutionary context for aquatic ecosystems and habitats

  • Climate – existing broad scale climate regionalisations e.g. Köppen, capture the broad differences in climate (temperature, rainfall and seasons) which are considered contemporary modifiers of the bio-geographic distribution and evolutionary traits of aquatic habitats

  • Hydrology – broad scale drainage divisions which capture the catchments within which aquatic habitats occur

Level 2
Level 2 Scheme

A number of datasets and regionalisations exist that are appropriate to the landscape covering the thematic areas of:

  • Topography

  • Landform (inc floodplain / non-floodplain)

  • Water influence

Attributes inland coastal surface aquatics lacustrine palustrine riverine
Attributes: Inland & Coastal Surface Aquatics Scheme(lacustrine / palustrine / riverine)

  • Water Source

    • surface (flood/non-floodplain), groundwater, both

  • Water Type

    • saline, fresh

    • pH

  • Water Regime

    • permanent, intermittent, ephemeral

  • Substrate / Soil

    • peat, mineral, rock

  • Vegetation / Fringing Veg

    • forested, shrub, sedge/grass/forb or no emergent vegetation

  • Confinement (rivers only)

Pros of the process
Pros of the process Scheme

Transparent system

Practical - efficient and effective

No gaps

Inclusive - can be widely applied throughout Australia – range of spatial and vertical scales

Attributes are used as necessary – not hierarchical

Attributes can be retrospectively applied to existing spatial datasets

Anae status
ANAE Status Scheme

  • AETG Classification Workshop October 2008, plus updates / discussion at AETG meetings 2009 and 2010

  • Concept to develop ANAE Classification Scheme (based on attributes and regionalisations) endorsed by NRPPC Meeting No 21, May 2009

  • Continued development process  Number of workshops and trials - Utility and application + ability to map existing systems into national system. (Throughout 2009 – 2010 period)

Anae status continued
ANAE Status - continued Scheme

  • Briefing to Australian Government, Canberra (also QLD) (June 2010)

  • Formal approval AETG, Min Council (2010 – 2012)

  • Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit Module 2 Interim ANAE Classification a

  • Development of attributes –

    • Lacustrine and Palustrine – (reworked / updated  Connectivity. Trialled in LEB, Sth East and WA). Input to GDE Atlas

    • Riverine (workshop Adelaide, April 2010 – draft attributes  Current trial in MDBA).

    • Subterranean (workshop Adelaide, April 2010)  Input to GDE Atlas

    • Estuarine / Marine – need to split level 3 attributes (NEN & ICAG)

Estuarine marine attributes
Estuarine/Marine Attributes Scheme

  • Where/how do Estuarine and Marine systems fit within the scheme (Level 2 and 3)

  • What are the type/s of systems?

  • What attributes are required to ensure that the range of systems is integrated within the existing ANAE classification and/or reflected in the Asset identification process?

  • Are such measures consistent with the intent of the ANAE and can they be used to inform representativeness of assets?

  • Linkage with other systems e.g. OzCoasts & Catami

Issues Scheme

  • Practical application

  • Spatial Scale

  • Where does and estuary start and stop

  • Periodicity

  • Mixing

  • Water column and floor