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    Author(s): Bruce E. Rieman; Jason B. Dunham; James L. Clayton
    Date: 2006
    Source: International journal of river basin management. 4(2): 85–97
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (2.0 MB)


    Integration of biological and physical concepts is necessary to understand and conserve the ecological integrity of river systems. Past attempts at integration have often focused at relatively small scales and on mechanistic models that may not capture the complexity of natural systems leaving substantial uncertainty about ecological responses to management actions. Two solutions have been proposed to guide management in the face of that uncertainty: the use of “natural variability” in key environmental patterns, processes, or disturbance as a reference; and the retention of some areas as essentially unmanaged reserves to conserve and represent as much biological diversity as possible. Both concepts are scale dependent because dominant processes or patterns that might be referenced will change with scale. Context and linkages across scales may be as important in structuring biological systems as conditions within habitats used by individual organisms. Both ideas view the physical environment as a template for expression, maintenance, and evolution of ecological diversity. To conserve or restore a diverse physical template it will be important to recognize the ecologically important differences in physical characteristics and processes among streams or watersheds that we might attempt to mimic in management or represent in conservation or restoration reserves.

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    Rieman, Bruce E.; Dunham, Jason B.; Clayton, James L. 2006. Emerging concepts for management of river ecosystems and challenges to applied integration of physical and biological sciences in the Pacific Northwest, USA. International journal of river basin management. 4(2): 85–97


    natural variability, template, diversity, integrity, scale

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