The importance of hydrodynamics for protected and endangered biodiversity of lowland rivers
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This paper examines the relationship between protected and endangered riverine species (target species) and hydrodynamics in river-floodplain ecosystems, combining ecological and policy-legal aspects of biodiversity conservation in river management. The importance of different hydrodynamic conditions along a lateral gradient was quantified for various taxonomic groups. Our results show that (i) target species require ecotopes along the entire hydrodynamic gradient; (ii) different parts of the hydrodynamic gradient are important to different species, belonging to different taxonomic groups; (iii) in particular low-dynamic parts are important for many species and (iv) species differ in their specificity for hydrodynamic conditions. Many species of higher plants, fish and butterflies have a narrow range for hydrodynamics and many species of birds and mammals use ecotopes along the entire gradient. Even when focussing only on target species, the entire natural hydrodynamic gradient is important. This means that the riverine species assemblage as a whole can benefit from measures focussing on target species only. River reconstruction and management should aim at re-establishing the entire hydrodynamic gradient, increasing the spatial heterogeneity of hydrodynamic conditions.
Key wordsanimal and plant species ecological rehabilitation flood defence hydrodynamics legally protected and endangered species river management
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