Interactions between flooding and upland disturbance drives species diversity in large river floodplains

Mauricio E. Arias, Florian Wittmann, Pia Parolin, Michael Murray-Hudson, Thomas A. Cochrane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding and predicting vegetation patterns in floodplains are essential for conservation and/or restoration of river floodplains subject to hydrological alterations. We propose a conceptual hydroecological model to explain the disturbance mechanisms driving species diversity across large river floodplains. These ecosystems harbor a unique set of flood-tolerant species different from the surrounding upland vegetation. In elevation gradients across pristine floodplains, the greater the flooding, the fewer the number of plant species. As terrain elevation increases, flood depth and duration decrease and it is more likely that species composition is influenced by external natural or human-driven disturbances. The spatial interaction between the natural flood regime and upland factors creates patterns of disturbance gradients that influence how floodplain vegetation establishes. In regions where upland conditions are subject to strong external disturbances, species diversity peaks at intermediate stages along the disturbance gradient. We demonstrate this concept with observations from the Central Amazon and Pantanal in Brazil, the Mekong’s Tonle Sap in Cambodia, and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. We discuss how this model could be further elaborated and validated to inform management of large river basins under the impact of upstream-induced flood pulse alterations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages13
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume814
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

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floodplains
floodplain
species diversity
highlands
flooding
disturbance
rivers
river
vegetation
upland region
Pantanal
Cambodia
Botswana
sap
harbor
river basin
Brazil
duration
ecosystems
ecosystem

Cite this

Arias, Mauricio E. ; Wittmann, Florian ; Parolin, Pia ; Murray-Hudson, Michael ; Cochrane, Thomas A. / Interactions between flooding and upland disturbance drives species diversity in large river floodplains. In: Hydrobiologia. 2018 ; Vol. 814, No. 1. pp. 5-17.
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abstract = "Understanding and predicting vegetation patterns in floodplains are essential for conservation and/or restoration of river floodplains subject to hydrological alterations. We propose a conceptual hydroecological model to explain the disturbance mechanisms driving species diversity across large river floodplains. These ecosystems harbor a unique set of flood-tolerant species different from the surrounding upland vegetation. In elevation gradients across pristine floodplains, the greater the flooding, the fewer the number of plant species. As terrain elevation increases, flood depth and duration decrease and it is more likely that species composition is influenced by external natural or human-driven disturbances. The spatial interaction between the natural flood regime and upland factors creates patterns of disturbance gradients that influence how floodplain vegetation establishes. In regions where upland conditions are subject to strong external disturbances, species diversity peaks at intermediate stages along the disturbance gradient. We demonstrate this concept with observations from the Central Amazon and Pantanal in Brazil, the Mekong’s Tonle Sap in Cambodia, and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. We discuss how this model could be further elaborated and validated to inform management of large river basins under the impact of upstream-induced flood pulse alterations.",
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Arias, ME, Wittmann, F, Parolin, P, Murray-Hudson, M & Cochrane, TA 2018, 'Interactions between flooding and upland disturbance drives species diversity in large river floodplains', Hydrobiologia, vol. 814, no. 1, pp. 5-17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-016-2664-3

Interactions between flooding and upland disturbance drives species diversity in large river floodplains. / Arias, Mauricio E.; Wittmann, Florian; Parolin, Pia; Murray-Hudson, Michael; Cochrane, Thomas A.

In: Hydrobiologia, Vol. 814, No. 1, 01.06.2018, p. 5-17.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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T1 - Interactions between flooding and upland disturbance drives species diversity in large river floodplains

AU - Arias, Mauricio E.

AU - Wittmann, Florian

AU - Parolin, Pia

AU - Murray-Hudson, Michael

AU - Cochrane, Thomas A.

PY - 2018/6/1

Y1 - 2018/6/1

N2 - Understanding and predicting vegetation patterns in floodplains are essential for conservation and/or restoration of river floodplains subject to hydrological alterations. We propose a conceptual hydroecological model to explain the disturbance mechanisms driving species diversity across large river floodplains. These ecosystems harbor a unique set of flood-tolerant species different from the surrounding upland vegetation. In elevation gradients across pristine floodplains, the greater the flooding, the fewer the number of plant species. As terrain elevation increases, flood depth and duration decrease and it is more likely that species composition is influenced by external natural or human-driven disturbances. The spatial interaction between the natural flood regime and upland factors creates patterns of disturbance gradients that influence how floodplain vegetation establishes. In regions where upland conditions are subject to strong external disturbances, species diversity peaks at intermediate stages along the disturbance gradient. We demonstrate this concept with observations from the Central Amazon and Pantanal in Brazil, the Mekong’s Tonle Sap in Cambodia, and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. We discuss how this model could be further elaborated and validated to inform management of large river basins under the impact of upstream-induced flood pulse alterations.

AB - Understanding and predicting vegetation patterns in floodplains are essential for conservation and/or restoration of river floodplains subject to hydrological alterations. We propose a conceptual hydroecological model to explain the disturbance mechanisms driving species diversity across large river floodplains. These ecosystems harbor a unique set of flood-tolerant species different from the surrounding upland vegetation. In elevation gradients across pristine floodplains, the greater the flooding, the fewer the number of plant species. As terrain elevation increases, flood depth and duration decrease and it is more likely that species composition is influenced by external natural or human-driven disturbances. The spatial interaction between the natural flood regime and upland factors creates patterns of disturbance gradients that influence how floodplain vegetation establishes. In regions where upland conditions are subject to strong external disturbances, species diversity peaks at intermediate stages along the disturbance gradient. We demonstrate this concept with observations from the Central Amazon and Pantanal in Brazil, the Mekong’s Tonle Sap in Cambodia, and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. We discuss how this model could be further elaborated and validated to inform management of large river basins under the impact of upstream-induced flood pulse alterations.

KW - Flood hydrology

KW - Flood pulse concept

KW - Floodplain ecology

KW - Intermediate disturbance hypothesis

KW - Plant species diversity

KW - Tropical rivers

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JO - Hydrobiologia

JF - Hydrobiologia

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