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Control of Non-migrating Bar Morphodynamics on Survival of Populus nigra Seedlings during Floods

  • C. L. WintenbergerEmail author
  • S. Rodrigues
  • S. Greulich
  • J. G. Bréhéret
  • P. Jugé
  • M. Tal
  • A. Dubois
  • M. Villar
Original Research


Populus nigra seedling survival to flood stresses during their first stage of development was analyzed in the Loire River, France. We related bar dynamics (assessed from bathymetrical, topographical, flow velocity, scour chains, and sediment grain size surveys) to seedling survival. The study highlights (i) the influence of flood succession and flood stages on seedling survival after establishment, (ii) the spatial distribution of fluvial processes at the bar scale and their relative contribution to seedling mortality, (iii) threshold values for each process. At the bar scale, 28% of mortality is explained by uprooting associated with erosion of sediments. To a lesser extent, uprooting by drag force applied on the stems and burying by sediments also contribute to seedling mortality. The majority of seedling mortality is ultimately due to a combination of erosion and burial (50.6%) during flood events. The relative contribution of each process depends on the combination and phasing of erosion and deposition processes, sediment supply (quantity and grain size), and flow velocity governed by hydrological variations. Based on the results of this study we hypothesize that the survival of seedlings during floods may be a function of local processes involved in bar dynamics.


Non-migrating bar Uprooting Burial Riparian vegetation Seedlings 



This study is part of the Ph.D. thesis of the first author and is funded by the Masterplan Plan Loire Grandeur Nature - FEDER (Presage n°34971), Agence de l’Eau Loire-Bretagne (n° 100392601), Etablissement Public Loire (11-DR-RD-015) and Région Centre Val de Loire. It also benefited of the support by BioMareau II project (Feder 2016-EX00604 - Prog 9086 - Région Centre Val de Loire: 2016-00108343) and the Program ARD Intelligence des Patrimoines.

Michel Chantereau, Damien Hemeray (Réserve Naturelle Saint-Mesmin) and Thomas Carrière (DDT 45) are acknowledged for their valuable contributions. Y. Guerez and T. Handfus (CETU ELMIS – University of Tours) are thanked for their assistance during flood surveys. Other field investigations and grain size analysis were carried out with the help of J.P. Bakyono, I. Pene, M. Rincel (University of Tours). We thank S. Marin (INRA Val de Loire) for sharing her data on genetic structuration of seedling recruitment. O. Ursache (University of Tours) is acknowledged for his help during the analysis of data. The authors are grateful to the reviewers and the chief editor for their useful comments and suggestions that significantly improved the paper.

Author Contributions

Wintenberger CL conception and design, data collection, analysis and conclusions, and manuscript preparation. Rodrigues S conception and design, data collection, conclusions and manuscript preparation. Bréhéret J-G and Villar data collection. Jugé P data collection. Tal M manuscript preparation. Dubois A analysis. Greulich S analysis and conclusions, and manuscript preparation.

Supplementary material

13157_2018_1121_MOESM1_ESM.docx (449 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 449 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. L. Wintenberger
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Rodrigues
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Greulich
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. G. Bréhéret
    • 3
  • P. Jugé
    • 4
  • M. Tal
    • 5
  • A. Dubois
    • 6
  • M. Villar
    • 6
  1. 1.UMR CNRS CITERES 7324Université de ToursToursFrance
  2. 2.Ecole Polytechnique de l’Université de ToursToursFrance
  3. 3.E.A. 6293 GéHCO – GéoHydrosystèmes ContinentauxUniversité de Tours, UFR Sciences et TechniquesToursFrance
  4. 4.CETU ELMISUniversité de ToursToursFrance
  5. 5.CEREGE UMR 6635Aix-Marseille Université, Europôle de l’ArboisAix-en-Provence cedex 04France
  6. 6.Unité Amélioration, Génétique et Physiologie ForestièresINRA Val de Loire Orléans UR 0588Olivet CedexFrance

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