Research output

Article in Journal ()

Backwater habitats and their role in nature conservation on navigable waterways

Citation
Willby N & Eaton JW (1996) Backwater habitats and their role in nature conservation on navigable waterways, Hydrobiologia, 340 (1-3), pp. 333-338.

Abstract
In Britain, lightly trafficked canals frequently contain diverse, productive macrophyte communities. These represent important habitats for macroinvertebrates and fish while having a high intrinsic value in nature conservation terms. As recreational boat traffic increases, fragile macrophytes are progressively eliminated and the biomass of the remaining species is greatly reduced, thereby adversely affecting weed-associated animals and ultimately simplifying the structure of the whole ecosystem. From the viewpoint of aesthetics, nature conservation and fisheries management,ecological enhancement of these traffic impacted ecosystems is desirable but options are limited by channel size and the intensity and type of disturbance. Backwater areas connected to the main channel but apparently remote from traffic influences ought however, to provide a minimally-disturbed refuge for macrophytes and dependent organisms. An extensive field survey was undertaken to test this hypothesis and evaluate the potential for exploiting backwater sites as ‘off-line' nature reserves. Principal determinants of vegetation structure and species diversity are identified and discussed and are used to prescribe a set of ideal characteristics for prospective backwater nature reserves and to forecast likely management problems.

Keywords
refuge design; boat; channel; management

StatusPublished
AuthorsWillby Nigel, Eaton John W
Publication date06/12/1996
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
ISSN 0018-8158
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Hydrobiologia: Volume 340, Issue 1-3 (DEC 6 1996)

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
My Portal