Stream health study at conventional and organic dairy farms in the Waikato Region to assess effects of such practices on aquatic ecosystems.

Sandoval, Nicolas (2019) Stream health study at conventional and organic dairy farms in the Waikato Region to assess effects of such practices on aquatic ecosystems. Masters thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract or Summary

Freshwater is an essential resource supporting life on earth at all levels of organisation including human development. In New Zealand degradation of this valuable resource has become a frequent topic of discussion which has led to various investigations in areas considered detrimental to freshwater such as conventional dairy farming. In this research stream health was monitored and compared at streams flowing through conventional and organic dairy farms to assess the effects of the two farming systems on aquatic ecosystems in order to provide beneficial information for freshwater management. Monitoring was carried out during September-October 2019 at six conventional and five organics streams in the Waikato Region using the Stream Health Monitoring Assessment Kit developed by NIWA and Federated Farmers. To assess the effects of each farming system the percentage change of stream health at each site from upstream to downstream was calculated and compared. In organic sites results showed a positive response in intrinsic lower quality streams. At conventional streams it was observed the effects of conventional practices are somehow buffered at initially poorer quality streams. The comparison of average % change in stream health demonstrated beneficial responses at the organic sites. For example, biological data showed switching from conventional to organic dairy farming in a particular site could potentially result in a 2.43% stream health improvement per 100 m of the stream. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to test the probability of the samples being drawn from different populations. However, due to the small sample size it is recommended to carry out further research with an incremented sample size to determine if the differences obtained are in fact significant.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Keywords that describe the item:Stream monitoring Organic/Conventional farms
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions:Schools > Centre for Science and Primary Industries
ID Code:7286
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Deposited On:05 May 2020 21:41
Last Modified:05 May 2020 21:41

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