Integrative conservation of riparian zones

González, Eduardo; Felipe-Lucia, Maria R.; Bourgeois, Bérenger; Boz, Bruno; Nilsson, Christer; Palmer, Grant; Sher, Anna A. (2017). Integrative conservation of riparian zones. Biological conservation, 211, pp. 20-29. Elsevier 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.10.035

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Riparian zones are the interface between aquatic and terrestrial systems along inland watercourses. They have a disproportionate ecological role in the landscape considering their narrow extent, which makes them a good example of small natural features (sensu Hunter, 2017-inthisissue). Characteristically, riparian zones increase species richness in the landscape and provide key services to society, such as soil fertility, water purification, and recreation. Despite the recognized importance of riparian zones for ecological, economic and social reasons, and the vast amount of scientific literature exploring measures for their conservation, current management is still failing at enabling a proper ecological functioning of these areas. The best practices for conservation of riparian zones have mostly focused on manipulating biotic and physical components (e.g. renaturalizing flow regimes, improving channel mobility, and controlling invasions of exotic ecosystem engineer species). However, these strategies face important technical, socio-economic, and legal constraints that require a more integrative approach for effective conservation. In this paper we summarize the main problems affecting riparian zones and their current management challenges. Following Hunter et al. (2017-inthisissue), we review novel approaches to conservation of riparian zones, complementary to manipulating processes that reflect contemporary management and policy. These include (1) investing in environmental education for both local people and technical staff, (2) guaranteeing qualitative and long term inventories and monitoring, (3) establishing legislation and solutions to protect riparian zones, (4) framing economic activities in riparian zones under sustainable management, and (5) planning restoration of riparian zones at multiple and hierarchical spatio-temporal scales.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Felipe Lucia, Maria del Rosario


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

27 Oct 2017 15:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:06

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Conservation strategies; Floodplain; Frodo effect; Riverine; Small ecosystem features




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