Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 72 Conclusion Natural boom and bust cycles driving animal populations in the Lake Eyre Basin potentially will be seriously affected by developments in irrigation and mining. New mining and irrigation developments could have their most serious effects along the rivers and the floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin (see Chapter 22). There are potentially two broad and contrasting scenarios, affecting the two ends of the cycles. If current environmental conditions (booms or busts) become fixed, or de-coupled from natural boom–bust cycles, we can expect great changes for the organisms and communities that have evolved to survive in a fluctuating environment. It is critical that decisions about the economic development of the rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin account for these potential effects on their natural values and adequately recognise current uses that are often providing economic values or global environmental services. We argue for a precautionary approach. As the visionary naturalist HH Finlayson warned in 1935, we should not bequeath to future generations the knowledge that our decisions have come at costs they cannot bear. References Andersen A, Cook G, Bax NJ (2014) Mining and biodiversity. In Biodiversity Science and Solutions for Australia. (Eds S Morton, A Sheppard and M Lonsdale) pp. 167–178. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. Aplin KP, Brown PR, Jacob J, Krebs CJ, Singleton GR (2003) Field Methods for Rodent Studies in Asia and the Indo-Pacific. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra. Australian Government (2014) ‘Green paper on developing Northern Australia’. Australian Government, Canberra. Boulton AJ, Sheldon F, Jenkins KM (2006) Natural disturbance and aquatic invertebrates in desert rivers. In Ecology of Desert Rivers. (Ed. RT Kingsford), pp. 133–153. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Breed WG, Leigh CM (2011) Reproductive biology of an old endemic murid rodent of Australia, the spinifex hopping mouse, Notomys alexis: adaptations for life in the arid zone. Integrative Zoology 6, 321–333. doi:10.1111/j.1749-4877.2011.00264.x Brock MA, Capon SJ, Porter JL (2006) Disturbance of plant communities dependent on desert rivers. In Ecology of Desert Rivers. (Ed. RT Kingsford) pp. 100–132. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Brown D, Taylor J, Bell M (2008) The demography of desert Australia. The Rangeland Journal 30, 29–43. doi:10.1071/RJ07043 Bureau of Meteorology (2014) Climate Data Online. Callender G, Marsh P, Fernandez R (2011) ‘Scoping study on procurement in desert Australia’. DKCRC Research Report 65. Ninti One Limited, Alice Springs. Chen X, Dickman CR, Thompson MB (1998) Diet of the mulgara, Dasycercus cristicauda (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae), in the Simpson Desert, central Australia. Wildlife Research 25, 233–242. doi:10.1071/WR97087 D’Souza JB, Whittington A, Dickman CR, Leung LKP (2013) Perfect storm: demographic responses of an irruptive desert mammal to prescribed burns following flooding rain. Austral Ecology 38, 765–776. doi:10.1111/aec.12086 Desert Channels Queensland Inc (2004) ‘Our country: our community. A community information paper for the Queensland section of the Lake Eyre Basin’. Desert Channels Queensland Inc., Longreach. Dickman CR, Mahon PS, Masters P, Gibson DF (1999) Long-term dynamics of rodent populations in arid Australia: the influence of rainfall. Wildlife Research 26, 389–403. doi:10.1071/WR97057
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