de Sosa, L, Glanville, HC, Marshall, M, Abood, S, Prysor Williams, A and Jones, D (2018) Delineating and mapping riparian areas for ecosystem service assessment. Ecohydrology, 11 (2). ISSN 1936-0584

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Riparian buffers, the interface between terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, have the potential to protect water bodies from land‐based pollution, and also for enhancing the delivery of a range of ecosystem services. The UK currently has no defined optimal width or maximum extent of riparian buffers for specific ecosystem services. Here, we present the first study, which attempts to (a) compare and critique different riparian buffer delineation methods and (b) investigate how ecological processes, for example, pollutant removal, nutrient cycling, and water temperature regulation, are affected spatially by proximity to the river and also within a riparian buffer zone. Our results have led to the development of new concepts for riparian delineation based on ecosystem service‐specific scenarios. Results from our study suggest that choice of delineation method will influence not only the total area of potential riparian buffers but also the proportion of land cover types included, which in turn will determine their main ecosystem provision. Thus, for some ecological processes (e.g., pollutant removal), a fixed‐distance approach will preserve and protect its ecosystem function, whereas for processes such as denitrification, a variable‐width buffer will reflect better riparian spatial variability maximizing its ecological value. In summary, riparian delineation within UK habitats should be specific to the particular ecosystem service(s) of interest (e.g., uptake of nutrients and shading), and the effectiveness of the buffer should be ground‐truthed to ensure the greatest level of protection.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Delineating and mapping riparian areas for ecosystem service assessment, which has been published in final form at 10.1002/eco.1928. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: ecosystem services, freshwater corridors, GIS, land-use mapping, riparian zone modelling, riverbanks, wetlands
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2018 15:16
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2019 16:22

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