Browsing All Posts filed under »riparian«

How riparian trees  manage their water balance

March 26, 2022

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In riverine ecosystems, riparian vegetation supports aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, stabilises river banks and modulates water flow between the stream and the floodplain.  However, stream channelisation has led to the widespread disconnection and loss of floodplain forests.  Successful riparian restoration schemes are those that create the conditions for plants to become established and survive fluctuating […]

To be continued: the legacy of the River Continuum Concept

December 14, 2021

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A recent review examined the historical importance of the River Continuum Concept (RCC), which was introduced by Robin Vannote and co-workers in 1980.  This concept revolutionised stream ecology research by prompting a shift from a descriptive to a predictive approach and encouraging multidisciplinary collaboration between biologists, geomorphologists and geochemists.  The RCC became a key framework […]

Assessing human impacts on river systems

September 28, 2021

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Because many river systems have been significantly modified as a result of human activities, indicators of changing river structure and function are very helpful in guiding our efforts to manage rivers on a sustainable basis.  A number of different indicators based on the hydrology, chemistry or biology of rivers have been developed, but in many […]

Assessing river condition from the air

June 7, 2021

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Although attempts are commonly made to restore streams impacted by disturbance, follow-up monitoring to assess a project’s success is often minimal due to budget limitations.   However, new approaches involving the use of small unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) offer the possibilities for remote stream assessment, with potentially great gains in terms of cost-effectiveness and reduced field […]

Aquatic ecosystem services: impacts of land use

March 13, 2021

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Streams and riparian zones are seldom given priority in protected-area planning, and little is known about the effects of protection on the many ecosystem services that streams provide.  To help fill this knowledge gap, researchers studied differences in biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided by 28 streams in protected and unprotected watersheds in Quebec, Canada.  […]

Aquatic ecosystem services: rethinking streamside planting

March 13, 2021

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Spatial patterns in the loss of natural land cover to agriculture have a significant effect on ecosystem services, including those provided by landscape features that interrupt runoff flows to rivers.  For example, the number, size and location of woodland patches all have an impact on ecosystem services such as sediment trapping, pollutant retention and the […]

Water abstraction changes local food chains

March 13, 2021

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The alteration of river flows by damming or extracting water is a major threat to freshwater ecosystems that can lead to habitat changes and local species extinctions.  While the impacts of dams and large-scale diversions have been the subject of many studies, the cumulative effects of small water abstractions aren’t so well understood, even though […]

Channel restoration takes time

December 16, 2020

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Channel reconfiguration is a common stream restoration technique that aims to create a stable basis for ecological functioning, but it’s expensive and its effectiveness has often been questioned.  However, channel reconfiguration assessments are typically based on the results of monitoring for up to 5-7 years post-restoration, which may be too short a period to capture […]

Value for money: the willingness to pay for river restoration

September 26, 2020

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River restoration aims at improving ecological condition, increasing biodiversity and restoring ecosystem services, and is now a legal obligation in many parts of Europe.  Switzerland is a world leader in the field and the Swiss government has set an ambitious target of restoring 4000 km of rivers by 2090.  The government has pledged to cover […]

Why it’s important to protect water at its source

September 26, 2020

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In the present age, when human activity has an increasingly dominant influence on the environment, water security has become a pressing issue, and growing  efforts and funds are spent on maintaining water quality and reliable flows.  While most approaches to water security focus on the provision of conventional infrastructure such as dams and treatment systems, […]