THE INFLUENCE OF CHECK DAMS ON FLUVIAL PROCESSES AND RIPARIAN VEGETATION IN MOUNTAIN REACHES OF TORRENTS
AbstractThe complex hydrogeomorphological processes within the active channel of rivers strongly influence riparian vegetation development and organization, particularly in mountain streams where such processes can be remarkably impacted by engineering control works. In four mountain reaches of Calabrian fiumaras we analyze, through previously arranged methods (integrated by a multivariate statistic analysis), the relationships among hydrogeomorphological river characteristics and structure and the development of riparian vegetation within the active channel in transects located in proximity of check dams and in less disturbed sites. The results of this study demonstrate clear and relevant contrasts, due to the presence of check dams, in the physical and vegetation properties of upstream, downstream and intermediate sites around check dams. The multivariate statistical approach through the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) highlighted evident relationships in all transects between groups of physical and vegetation properties. The regression analysis performed between the vegetation properties and the width:depth ratio or the specific discharge showed very different relationships between groups of transects, due to evident changes in channel morphology and in flow regime locally induced by check dams. Overall we have shown that check dams have far reaching effects in the extent and development of riparian vegetation of mountain torrent reaches, which extend far beyond physical adjustments to changed morphological, hydraulic and sedimentary conditions.
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