Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Putting ecology back into river restoration

18.04.2005


An ambitious plan is under way in the ecological community to agree a set of standards for ecologically successful river restoration. The plan is being led by the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology, which this month is publishing a special profile on river restoration. Opening the debate is a paper by 22 leading US river ecologists proposing five criteria for ecologically successful river restoration. Their aim is to arrive at an agreed set of standards which would eventually be endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme.



Although billions of dollars are spent on river restoration projects worldwide, little agreement exists on how their success is measured. According to lead author Dr Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland: “Given the rapid rate of global degradation of fresh waters, and the fact that river and stream restoration has become a booming enterprise, it is time to agree on what constitutes successful river and stream restoration.”

Palmer and her colleagues say that the success of river restoration should be judged according to five criteria: a guiding image; improving ecosystems; increasing resilience; doing no lasting harm; and completing an ecological assessment.


The first step should be articulating a “guiding image” describing the ecologically healthy river that could exist at a given site. The second step should be to demonstrate that there have been measurable changes towards the guiding image, such as larger fish populations and clearer water. Palmer et al stress that restoration success should not be viewed as an all-or-nothing, single endpoint, but as an adaptive process where small improvements build up and lessons are learned from any failures. The third criteria for successful river restoration is to create hydrological, geomorphological and ecological conditions that allow the river to be a resilient, self-sustaining system. The fourth criteria is to do no lasting harm. “For example, a channel modification project should minimise loss of native vegetation during river reconstruction, and should avoid the fish spawning season for construction work,” Palmer explains. The final criteria is ecological assessment.

According to Palmer: “It is critical that the broad restoration community, including funding agencies, practitioners and citizen restoration groups, adopt criteria for defining and assessing ecological success in restoration. Standards are needed because progress in the science and practice of river restoration has been hampered by the lack of agreed upon criteria for judging ecological success.”

The debate is timely given the many waterfront regeneration projects under way worldwide. But, Palmer argues, many such schemes lack an ecological dimension. “Riverfront revitalisation projects many be successful in increasing economic and social activity near a river, but can constrain natural processes of the river and floodplain. Projects labelled restoration successes should not be assumed to be ecological successes,” Palmer says.

Several other papers on river restoration, including two responses to Palmer et al’s paper, are included in this issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Becky Allen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers devise microreactor to study formation of methane hydrate

23.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

ShAPEing the future of magnesium car parts

23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering

New insights into the world of trypanosomes

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>