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The Vjosa River corridor: a model of natural hydro-morphodynamics and a hotspot of highly threatened ecosystems of European significance

Schiemer, Fritz; Beqiraj, Sajmir; Drescher, Anton; Graf, Wolfram; Egger, Gregory; Essl, Franz; Frank, Thomas; Hauer, Christoph; Hohensinner, Severin; Miho, Aleko; Meulenbroek, Paul; Paill, Wolfgang; Schwarz, Ulrich; Vitecek, Simon

Abstract:
Context: Large near-natural rivers have become rare in Europe, a fact reflected in the high conservation status of many riverine ecosystems. While the Balkan still harbors several intact river corridors, most of these are under pressure from planned hydropower constructions. Unfortunately, there is little information available on the hydromorphodynamics and biota of Balkan rivers under threat.
Objectives: We present a synthesis of research on the Vjosa in Southern Albania. Here, longitudinal continuity in water flow, undisturbed sediment transport and intact fluvial dynamics are still maintained, but threatened by two large dams planned in its downstream section. We intend to provide a first multidisciplinary inventory of this river system as an example of the knowledge base required for sound water management decisions in the Balkans.
Methods: Based on field work of a multidisciplinary consortium of scientists from Albania and other countries conducted from 2017 onwards, we summarize the most important findings on geomorphology of the riverine landscape, habitat turnover rates, vegetation ecology and selected animal taxa.
Results: We found evidence that significant areas (86%) of the river corridor are covered by habitats listed in Annex 1 of the European Union Habitats Directive. ... mehr

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Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000118775
Veröffentlicht am 28.04.2020
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Geographie und Geoökologie (IFGG)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsmonat/-jahr 04.2020
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 0921-2973, 1572-9761
KITopen-ID: 1000118775
Erschienen in Landscape ecology
Band 35
Heft 4
Seiten 953–968
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 20.03.2020
Schlagwörter Balkans rivers, EU-regulations, Habitat turnover, Hydropower, Stenotopic floodplain biota, Vegetation succession
Nachgewiesen in Web of Science
Scopus
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