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Abstract

Sediment is an integral and dynamic part of aquatic systems and it plays a major role in the hydrological, geomorphological and ecological functioning of river basins, defined here to include lakes, reservoirs, estuaries and the coastal zone. In natural and agricultural systems, sediment originates from the weathering of rocks, the mobilization and erosion of soils and river banks, and mass movements such as landslides and debris flows. In most river basins there are also important contributions to the sediment load of organic-rich material from a range of sources such as riparian trees, macrophytes and fish. This inorganic and organic material is susceptible to transportation downstream by flowing water, from headwaters and other source areas towards the outlet of the river basin. Flow rates decline in lowland areas (and areas where flow is reduced) where transported material settles in slack-zones and on the bed of the river, and on river floodplains during overbank events. At the end of the river much of the sediment is deposited in the estuary and on the seabed of the coastal zone.

Keywords

River Basin Sediment Transport Sediment Load Dissolve Organic Matter Sediment Flux 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Förstner
    • 1
  • Philip N. Owens
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Technology and Energy EconomicsHamburg University of TechnologyHamburgGermany
  2. 2.FRBC Endowed Research, Endowed Chair of Landscape Ecology, Environmental Sciences ProgramUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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