Riparian forest

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A dry riparian forest in Western Sydney Prospectcreek.jpg
A dry riparian forest in Western Sydney

A riparian forest or riparian woodland is a forested or wooded area of land adjacent to a body of water such as a river, stream, pond, lake, marshland, estuary, canal, sink or reservoir.

Contents

Etymology

Riparian forest in Zahorie Protected Landscape Area in Slovakia Morava's flooded forest 03.jpg
Riparian forest in Záhorie Protected Landscape Area in Slovakia

The term riparian comes from the Latin word ripa, 'river bank'; technically it only refers to areas adjacent to flowing bodies of water such as rivers, streams, sloughs and estuaries. However, the terms riparian forest and riparian zone have come to include areas adjacent to non-flowing bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, playas and reservoirs.

Characteristics

A riparian forest area along a tributary to Lake Erie Riparian strip.jpg
A riparian forest area along a tributary to Lake Erie
Atlantic coastal salt marsh Bride-Brook-Salt-Marsh-vs.jpg
Atlantic coastal salt marsh

Riparian forests are subject to frequent inundation.

Riparian forests help control sediment, reduce the damaging effects of flooding and aid in stabilizing stream banks.

Riparian zones are transition zones between an upland terrestrial environment and an aquatic environment. Organisms found in this zone are adapted to periodic flooding. Many not only tolerate it, but require it in order to maintain health and complete their lifestyles. [1]

Threats

Threats to riparian forests:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Flood Natural disaster caused by water overflow

A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide. Floods are an area of study of the discipline hydrology and are of significant concern in agriculture, civil engineering and public health. Human changes to the environment often increase the intensity and frequency of flooding, for example land use changes such as deforestation and removal of wetlands, changes in waterway course or flood controls such as with levees, and larger environmental issues such as climate change and sea level rise. In particular climate change's increased rainfall and extreme weather events increases the severity of other causes for flooding, resulting in more intense floods and increased flood risk.

Santa Ana River River in California, United States

The Santa Ana River is the largest river entirely within Southern California in the United States. It rises in the San Bernardino Mountains and flows for most of its length through San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, before cutting through the northern Santa Ana Mountains via Santa Ana Canyon and flowing southwest through urban Orange County to drain into the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Ana River is 96 miles (154 km) long, and its drainage basin is 2,650 square miles (6,900 km2) in size.

Body of water Any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planets surface

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Bank (geography) Land alongside a body of water

In geography, a bank is the land alongside a body of water. Different structures are referred to as banks in different fields of geography, as follows.

Aquatic ecosystem Ecosystem in a body of water

An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in and surrounding a body of water, in contrast to land-based terrestrial ecosystems. Aquatic ecosystems contain communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystems may be lentic ; lotic ; and wetlands.

Colorado River Delta River delta in Baja California and Sonora, Mexico

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Riparian zone Interface between land and a river or stream

A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream. Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the terrestrial biomes of the Earth. Plant habitats and communities along the river margins and banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants. Riparian zones are important in ecology, environmental resource management, and civil engineering because of their role in soil conservation, their habitat biodiversity, and the influence they have on fauna and aquatic ecosystems, including grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, or even non-vegetative areas. In some regions, the terms riparian woodland, riparian forest, riparian buffer zone,riparian corridor, and riparian strip are used to characterize a riparian zone. The word riparian is derived from Latin ripa, meaning "river bank".

Streamflow, or channel runoff, is the flow of water in streams, rivers, and other channels, and is a major element of the water cycle. It is one component of the runoff of water from the land to waterbodies, the other component being surface runoff. Water flowing in channels comes from surface runoff from adjacent hillslopes, from groundwater flow out of the ground, and from water discharged from pipes. The discharge of water flowing in a channel is measured using stream gauges or can be estimated by the Manning equation. The record of flow over time is called a hydrograph. Flooding occurs when the volume of water exceeds the capacity of the channel.

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Perennial stream Type of river

A perennial stream is a stream that has continuous flow of surface water throughout the year in at least parts of its catchment during seasons of normal rainfall, as opposed to one whose flow is intermittent. In the absence of irregular, prolonged or extreme drought, a perennial stream is a watercourse, or segment, element or emerging body of water which continually delivers groundwater. For example, an artificial disruption of stream, variability in flow or stream selection associated with the activity in hydropower installations, do not affect this status. Perennial streams do not include stagnant water, reservoirs, cutoff lakes and ponds that persist throughout the year. All other streams, or parts of them, should be considered seasonal rivers or lakes. The stream can cycle from intermittent to perpetual through multiple iterations.

Lee Flood Relief Channel

The Lee Flood Relief Channel (FRC) is located in the Lea Valley and flows between Ware, Hertfordshire, and Stratford, east London. Work started on the channel in 1947 following major flooding and it was fully operational by 1976. The channel incorporates existing watercourses, lakes, and new channels. Water from the channel feeds the Lee Valley Reservoir Chain.

Buffer strip

A buffer strip is an area of land maintained in permanent vegetation that helps to control air quality, soil quality, and water quality, along with other environmental problems, dealing primarily on land that is used in agriculture. Buffer strips trap sediment, and enhance filtration of nutrients and pesticides by slowing down surface runoff that could enter the local surface waters. The root systems of the planted vegetation in these buffers hold soil particles together which alleviate the soil of wind erosion and stabilize stream banks providing protection against substantial erosion and landslides. Farmers can also use buffer strips to square up existing crop fields to provide safety for equipment while also farming more efficiently.

Riparian buffer

A riparian buffer or stream buffer is a vegetated area near a stream, usually forested, which helps shade and partially protect the stream from the impact of adjacent land uses. It plays a key role in increasing water quality in associated streams, rivers, and lakes, thus providing environmental benefits. With the decline of many aquatic ecosystems due to agriculture, riparian buffers have become a very common conservation practice aimed at increasing water quality and reducing pollution.

Stream Body of surface water flowing down a channel

A stream is a continuous body of surface water flowing within the bed and banks of a channel. Depending on its location or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to by a variety of local or regional names. Long large streams are usually called rivers, while smaller, less voluminous and more intermittent streams are known as streamlets, brooks or creeks, etc.

River Natural flowing watercourse

A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.

Freshwater biology The scientific study of freshwater ecosystems and biology

Freshwater biology is the scientific biological study of freshwater ecosystems and is a branch of limnology. This field seeks to understand the relationships between living organisms in their physical environment. These physical environments may include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, or wetlands. Knowledge from this discipline is also widely used in industrial processes to make use of biological processes involved with sewage treatment and water purification. Water presence and flow is an essential aspect to species distribution and influences when and where species interact in freshwater environments.

Flood control Methods used to reduce or prevent the detrimental effects of flood waters

Flood control methods are used to reduce or prevent the detrimental effects of flood waters. Flood relief methods are used to reduce the effects of flood waters or high water levels. Flooding can be caused by a mix of both natural processes, such as extreme weather upstream, and human changes to waterbodies and runoff. Though building hard infrastructure to prevent flooding, such as flood walls, can be effective at managing flooding, increased best practice within landscape engineering is to rely more on soft infrastructure and natural systems, such as marshes and flood plains, for handling the increase in water. For flooding on coasts, coastal management practices have to not only handle changes water flow, but also natural processes like tides.

Riparian-zone restoration Ecological restoration of river banks and floodplains

Riparian-zone restoration is the ecological restoration of riparian-zonehabitats of streams, rivers, springs, lakes, floodplains, and other hydrologic ecologies. A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream. Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the fifteen terrestrial biomes of the earth; the habitats of plant and animal communities along the margins and river banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by Aquatic plants and animals that favor them. Riparian zones are significant in ecology, environmental management, and civil engineering because of their role in soil conservation, their habitat biodiversity, and the influence they have on fauna and aquatic ecosystems, including grassland, woodland, wetland or sub-surface features such as water tables. In some regions the terms riparian woodland, riparian forest, riparian buffer zone, or riparian strip are used to characterize a riparian zone.

East Kill, a 16-mile-long (26 km) tributary of Schoharie Creek, flows across the town of Jewett, New York, United States, from its source on Stoppel Point. Ultimately its waters reach the Hudson River via the Mohawk. Since it drains into the Schoharie upstream of Schoharie Reservoir, it is part of the New York City water supply system. East Kill drains the southern slopes of the Blackhead Mountains, which include Thomas Cole Mountain, Black Dome, and Blackhead Mountain, the fourth-, third-, and fifth-highest peaks in the Catskills, respectively.

References

  1. Molles, M.C. Jr. (2008). Ecology: Concepts and Applications (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. p.  291. ISBN   0-07-330976-1.
  2. https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/docs/cmnt081712/sldmwa/katibahabriefhistoryofriparianforestsinthecentral%20.pdf [ bare URL PDF ]