BWRC and LEADERS Seminar Series – Donatella Termini

Sophie Felleiter

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Alteration of hydrological conditions in fluvial systems inevitably leads to changes in river morphology, riparian or riverbed vegetation and ecosystems. As literature shows, climate is one of controlling factor of the distribution of plant species. Rapid climate change leads to remarkable changes in the distribution and behavior of plants, contributing to modify the ecosystem equilibrium. Thus, riparian vegetation distribution could change in time and in space depending on the combination of factors affecting the settling and growth of vegetated elements. On one hand the presence of vegetation in rivers exerts an important ecological function and contributes to maintain suitable habitat; on the other hand vegetation and derived materials can be used for erosion control and slope protection to reduce risk events. Thus, the analysis of flow-vegetation interaction is important both to evaluating environmental processes such as sediment transport and mixing of transported quantities and to defining the role of vegetation in channel’s morphodynamics.