Finding the Voice of the River

Beyond Restoration and Management

  • Gary J. Brierley

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Gary J. Brierley
    Pages 111-150
  3. Back Matter
    Pages 151-179

About this book


This book addresses societal relationships to river systems, highlighting many unexplored possibilities in how we know and manage our rivers. 

Brierley contends that although we have good scientific understanding of rivers, with remarkable prospect for profound improvements to river condition, management applications greatly under-deliver. He conceptualizes approaches to river repair in two very different ways: Medean (competitive) and Gaian (cooperative). Rather than ‘managing’ rivers to achieve particular anthropogenic goals (the former option), this book adopts a more-than-human approach to ‘living with living rivers’ (the latter option), applying a river rights framework that conceptualizes rivers as sentient entities.

Chapters build on significant experience across many parts of the world, emphasizing the diverse array of river attributes and relationships to be protected and the wide range of problems to be addressed. Although the book has an environmental focus, it is framed as an argument in popular philosophy, contemplating the agency of rivers as place-beings. It will be of great value to academics, students and general readers interested in protecting river systems.

Gary J. Brierley is Professor and Chair of Physical Geography in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is co-developer of the River Styles Framework (Brierley and Fryirs, 2005). He has published around 200 international journal articles and book chapters, co-edited books on landscapes and ecosystems of the Upper Yellow River and River Futures and co-wrote a textbook entitled Geomorphic Analysis of River Systems (Fryirs & Brierley, 2012).


River management river restoration water resource management rivers and society river systems fluvial geomorphology rights of the river Agricultural Revolution Anthropocene River repair conservation Neoliberalism more-than-human

Authors and affiliations

  • Gary J. Brierley
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnvironmentUniversity of AucklandAuckland, AotearoaNew Zealand

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-27067-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-27068-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site