Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit Module 2: Interim Australian National Aquatic Ecosystem (ANAE) Classification Framework
Aquatic Ecosystems Task Group for Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities, 2012
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Module 2 is the Interim Australian National Aquatic Ecosystem (ANAE) Classification Framework. The ANAE is a broad-scale, semi-hierarchical, attribute-based scheme, which provides a nationally consistent, flexible framework for classifying different aquatic ecosystems and habitats including rivers, floodplains, lakes, palustrine wetlands, estuaries and subterranean ecosystems.
Sorting aquatic ecosystems into appropriate groups, according to their characteristics and/or ecological functioning, is a primary step in managing those systems, and for that a consistent approach for classifying them is recommended.
The ANAE has been developed to support the classification of aquatic ecosystems, and to assist in the identification of High Ecological Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HEVAE). However, it is designed to be flexible for multiple uses, and may be used to inform national aquatic ecosystem mapping and inventory processes. The ANAE can also be used to build on and integrate with existing classification schemes. The Interim ANAE Classification Framework can be used in conjunction with other modules in the Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit, or as an independent tool.
The Interim ANAE Classification Framework has been produced with the presumption that the majority of classification requirements in Australia will be undertaken in areas with poor and patchy biological data. Implementation of the ANAE will, in the greater part, be undertaken through mapping and spatial analysis.
Structure of the ANAE
The ANAE consists of three levels which are designed to capture the broad spatial patterns and ecological diversity of aquatic ecosystems and habitat types:
- Level 1: Regional scale
- Level 2: Landscape scale
- Level 3: Aquatic classes, systems and habitats.
Levels 1 and 2 are large scale, national regionalisations for landform, climate, hydrology, topography and water influence, which provide context relative to both the regional and landscape scales. Level 3 identifies the classes of aquatic ecosystems (surface water and subterranean), major aquatic systems (e.g. estuarine, lacustrine, riverine, and floodplain), and the pool of attributes used to classify those systems into habitats.
As new attribute information and recommendations following implementation become available, the Interim ANAE Classification Framework will be revised. The current version of the ANAE is available from this site.