The Role of Riparian Zones in Steep Mountain Watersheds

  • Brian L. McGlynn
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 23)


The riparian zone encompasses the strip of land between the stream channel and the hillslope and is sometimes referred to as the valley floor, near-stream zone (Cirmo and McDonnell 1997), floodplain (Bates et al. 2000), or buffer zone (Lowrance et al. 1985). Riparian zones have been differentiated from upslope zones by unique hydrology, topography, vegetation, and soils (Hill 1996). Characteristics such as anoxic zones, gleyed soils, distinct soil color, high organic content, breaks in slope, and near-surface water tables often distinguish riparian zones from adjacent hillslopes. Because of their location, riparian zones have significant potential to regulate the movement of water and elements in surface and subsurface runoff that flows from upslope areas to the stream (Hill 1996).


Hillslope Hydrograph separation Hydrology Riparian Runoff Watershed 


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Copyright information

© Springer. Printed in the Netherlands 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian L. McGlynn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Land Resources and Environmental SciencesMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA

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