Browsing All Posts filed under »habitat loss«

Coarse, shallow and wooden… but useful nonetheless

June 19, 2017

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Coarse woody debris (CWD) derived from shoreline trees provides an important, spatially complex habitat and a food source for lake-dwelling organisms. Here are some interesting facts about lake CWD, taken from a recent review paper: In the absence of the physical action of flowing water, CWD breaks down more slowly in lakes than in streams. […]

Planting vegetation to stop stream bank erosion: where’s the evidence?

June 19, 2017

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Increased rates of stream bank erosion and sediment movement in disturbed catchments have been attributed to changes in catchment hydrology caused by land clearing, channel modification, the trampling activities of livestock and the removal of riparian vegetation. Given that these effects are human-induced, it’s commonly assumed that they can also be reversed by human intervention, […]

Tree cover makes for lower fish diversity

March 27, 2017

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A pervasive feature of lowland streams, especially in areas where land has been cleared for agriculture or urban development, is a decrease in forested cover from the headwaters to the mouth. The presence or absence of streamside tree cover has a profound influence on stream ecology. Streams running through undisturbed forests typically contain large woody […]

Factoring history into threat assessments

December 13, 2016

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Genetic variation allows populations to adapt to environmental changes, and it’s often the case that threatened species exhibit low genetic diversity. Human-produced habitat fragmentation is a well-recognised cause of genetic bottlenecks, but the additional effects of larger-scale biogeographic factors are rarely considered. As an example of such biogeographic impacts, populations that have managed to survive […]

How environmentally-damaging are run-of-river hydropower systems?

June 1, 2016

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Hydropower generation typically involves the creation of large dams for the storage and release of water, which can have serious adverse effects on riverine environments. However, growing pressures on governments to meet renewable energy targets have stimulated interest in small-scale hydropower systems, especially run-of-river schemes, which use the flow within a river channel and operate […]

Bioengineered riverbanks

March 23, 2016

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Streamside riparian zones support diverse and specialized plant communities and provide animal species with habitat, shelter and migratory opportunities. However, human pressures are such that measures are frequently needed to counter the problem of riverbank erosion. While bank protection has often been approached from a hard civil engineering perspective, there are ecological and aesthetic advantages […]

Cutting reed beds while protecting bird diversity

December 18, 2015

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The common reed (Phragmites australis) occurs throughout the world and provides habitat for a wide range of animal species, including a number of reedbed specialists. Although reeds are commonly cut for commercial reasons and to prevent plant succession to wet woodland, it’s been shown that large-scale cutting can reduce the feeding and breeding success of […]