Short-Term Impacts of Weed Cutting on Physical Habitats in Lowland Rivers – the Importance of Initial Environmental Conditions
Morten Lauge Pedersen1, Annette Baattrup-Pedersen2, Frederikke Rahbek Rørth2,3, Tom Vindbæk Madsen3, Søren Erik Larsen2
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1Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg University,
Sohgaardsholmsvej 57, DK-9000 Aalborg, Denmark
2National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University,
Vejlsøvej 25, P. O. Box 314, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
3Department of Biological Sciences, Plant Biology, Aarhus University,
Ny Munkegade 120, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2011;20(5):1271-1280
We studied the effects of weed cutting at 3 reaches in two Danish lowland rivers with the objectives of examining the response to cutting in rivers with contrasting physical conditions, macrophyte diversity, and assemblage patterns. Physical characteristics and abundance of macrophyte species were registered 3 or 4 times throughout the study period on all reaches.
Weed cutting did not affect the total coverage of stone, gravel and sand and substratum homogeneity, and no common response was found among the reaches. This result is likely to reflect both initial differences in the physical environment among the reaches as well as differences in macrophyte coverage and assemblage patterns. Water depth, variability in current velocity and the coverage of stone and sand were affected by coverage independent of assemblage patterns, whereas the river bed substratum homogeneity was affected by coverage, as well as assemblage pattern.
The analysis indicated that diverse macrophyte communities with several growth morphologies enhance the spatial variability in substratum characteristics compared to reaches with a less diverse and more homogeneous distribution of species.
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