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RIVER PLANTS OF WESTERN EUROPE. The macrophytic vegetation of watercourses of the European Economic Community. (With contributions and illustrations by P.A. Wolseley.) 1987. Cambridge University Press. 512 pp. ISBN 0-521-26427-8.


This book describes and discusses, from various aspects, the vegetation of rivers and other watercourses in the countries of the European Economic Community (EEC). It is hoped that it thereby fills a gap in the general knowledge about the vegetation of flowing water, the vegetation of lakes and other standing water having been studied more. The book covers extensive and comparative aspects of vegetation rather than the intensive aspects so amply covered by other workers (particularly in Britain, Germany, The Netherlands). Distributional, community and historical ecology are stressed rather than physiological and productivity studies.

The sites recorded in each country (including e.g. empty channels and summer-dry source streams) number: Belgium, 750; Britain, 15000 Including some 3000 replicates); Denmark 780; France, 4650; Germany, 2150; Ireland (Eire plus Northern Ireland), 1100; Italy, 1700; Luxembourg, 150; The Netherlands, 1000. Greece joined the EEC only during the project and was not included, but c. 400 sites from South Norway were recorded and used for comparative studies. There is usually a recorded site 0-25 km from any named place in Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg and The Netherlands, and 0-50 km from such a place in France, Germany and Italy (excluding the Alps and Apennines, both of which mountain changes were under-recorded).

The main purpose of the book is to increase the understanding of river vegetation with respect of physiographic and associated variables. Physiography is even more important for vegetation in watercourses than on the land, because of the inherently different, and controlling character of the flowing-water habitat.

Submerged and floating macrophytes are always termed aquatic. However, the demarcation line between emerged aquatics and terrestrial plants extending to the water varies with the purpose of the investigation. This book is concerned with angiosperms of the channel, and to a minor extent with the mosses and larger algae. This follows the selection used by e.g. Butcher (1927, 1933) and Kohler (e.g. 1978, 1981). Holmes (e.g. 1980) and de Lange and van Zon (e.g. 1983) include species growing higher up the bank, as is necessary when working intensively on the full river community. However, when work is concentrated on the vegetation that is directly affected by conditions within the river itself, the more contracted habitat used in this book is relevant. Pollution, for instance, acts through the soil as well as the water, and can affect only soil which has polluted water above it for much of the time, and on which polluted silt can be deposited. Plants rooted higher up the bank are affected through the water alone, and this polluted water may only affect the base of emergents, and may indeed affect them for only part of the time. The same applies to any nutrient or other chemical which is found in greater abundance in the water or unconsolidated silt than in the more stable parts of the substrate and subsoil. Wash-out from storm flows also has less effect on vegetation that is higher up a bank. In, for instance, British clay streams, Fringing herbs in the larger rivers are more frequent above than at the summer normal water-line. The plants do not anchor well in the latter habitat and are more subject to wash-out.

Most of the surveys outside Britain were carried out in 1977-80, and most of those within Britain in 1969-80. At each site, the species of macrophytes present were recorded, together with their relative abundance and cover. Mosses were recorded to the order, Characeae to the family and Enteromorpha to the genus. Trailing (filamentous) algae were recorded to the group, and termed Blanket weed. This consists mainly of Cladophora sp. but other genera may be present, particularly in dykes and canals (e.g. Spirogyra, Vaucheria). The abundance of each species or aggregate was recorded on a five-point scale (dominant, abundant, frequent, occasional and local). This was converted to a two-point scale for most analyses: during the period of maximum growth a species usually remains plentiful or remains sparse, though it may vary between e.g. occasional and local. The total percentage cover of vegetation across the shallower (up to c. 1 m deep) parts of the channel under consideration was noted. In channels of greater depth or containing turbid water, the vegetation within the bands at each side was recorded. In addition to the location, rock type, landscape type, channel size, and substrate of the habitat, the depth, flow and clarity of the water were also recorded, together with any other relevant variables such as recent dredging or trampling.

The survey method used was that described by Haslam & Wolseley (1981), records being taken from bridges and other points sites. The vegetation of most watercourses passed over was recorded, outside major towns, giving a reasonable sample from the areas covered. Spot samples are usually representative for extensive work, though more continuous surveys are required for intensive studies (see e.g. G. Bouxin (personal communication) for sample sizes). Site species lists recorded from bridges are consistent from one bridge to the next, one bridge being like another. The lists may slightly over-record tall emergents, and if short brown or dark species are present in deep or turbid water, these will be under-recorded. This is a constant factor, present throughout the analysis. Small bridges rarely affect the river except for a few metres downstream of a pipe, concrete layer, etc., and these few metres are ignored. If e.g. turbulence is caused by piers on large bridges, this also can be seen and disregarded for the analysis (unless records are wanted in fast and slow flows of the same water quality, etc.). Occasionally, bridges are sited where there are special landscape features (e.g. for large rivers, on firmer ground for support). Even more infrequently, bridges can be associated with special man-made features, e.g. paved fords. In such rare instances where river vegetation is affected by bridge position, this can usually be seen, and the appropriate corrections can be made. Weirs may be sited by, or away from, bridges. Their effects are independent of those of bridges. A vertical view of the whole width of a river can be obtained from a bridge, enabling in most cases easy and full identification of the species in a short length of the river (supplementary wading may sometimes be needed). All the records were taken by one team, and mostly by one observer (except where other work is specifically referred to) so minimising errors due to inconsistent recording.

Advice on generally acceptable methods of numerical analysis was sought from Mr M.O. Hill. In view of the extremely large amount of data and numbers of variables, a simple analysis of probability under null hypotheses derived from c2
was used.

Replicate surveys have been mainly confined to Britain, and the relevant chapters (Chapters 11 and 28) describe this work. However, the records for the few other sites surveyed more than once during the course of the non-British surveys and those for four German rivers described by Kohler (e.g. 1982), show the same alterations and trends, and these can therefore be presumed to occur more widely. Otherwise the discussions and conclusions are based on evidence from several countries although the balance between the amount of British and non-British work presented does vary. Much of the work done by the author in Britain has already been published (Haslam, 1978a; Haslam & Wolseley, 1981; Haslam, 1982c) and, except where necessary to the argument, it is not repeated here.

This book has been written for river botanists, but it is hoped that river geographers, other river specialists and all those with a general interest in rivers may find something to interest them in this description of a fascinating habitat.

Extra surveys in six countries in 1984 indicated no community differences from the earlier surveys whose analysis is here described.




1 Introduction:
Physiography and river environments; EEC macrophytes; Determinants of vegetation in the wide geographic region of the EEC (South Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Britain, Ireland, Germany, France (mainland), Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Italy (mainland)).

2 River development:
Summary; Introduction; River geography (Geology, Quaternary glaciations); Prehistory and history.

3 River classification:
Summary; Introduction; Classifications other than that used in this book (Drainage and profiles, Flow, Animal classifications, Plant classifications, Biotypology); Macrophyte classification for this book (Water force, Classification factors - Rock type, Stream size, Landscape); The Cover-Diversity number (Effects of landscape and downstream changes, Effects of management).

4 Climate:
Summary; Bioclimate; Regional variations in precipitation and influence of rock type on the effect of precipitation on streams; Distribution of river plants in Europe in relation to climate; Temperature and the Lemnaceae.

5 River discharges; Summary; Discharge in relation to climate, physiography and geology; Sediment load and solute content; Storm flow and flooding; Regional characteristics in the EEC (Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy); Drainage basins: pattern and process; Alterations to drainage patterns.

6 Species distribution in relation to physical factors:
Summary; Introduction; Flow, substrate, width, depth and turbidity; Introduction to histogram analysis of plant distributions; Species distribution in relation to physical factors in all countries; Species distribution in relation to physical factors in different countries (Flow, Substrate, Depth, Width, Turbidity); Discussion; Conclusion.

7 Nutrient-status banding: Colour banding:
Summary; Introduction; Earlier nutrient-banding schemes; The Colour band system (Introduction, Description of the bands, Order of the species, Naming of communities ); Rock type and chemical associations with Colour band (Colour band and rock type, Nutrient analyses, Colour bands and Cation numbers, Unusual assemblages, Effects of water force, silt and peat, Effects of downstream eutrophication); Colour band assemblages in different countries (Britain, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium (with Luxembourg), Italy, France, South Norway, Wide-ranging assemblages); Variations in species banding in different countries; Colour band difficulties; Man's effect on nutrient status.

8 Plant responses to rock type and nutrient regime:
Summary; Introduction; Influences of rock type on vegetation (Resistant rocks, Sandstones, Limestones, Clays, Muschelkalk, Alluvium, moraine, loess, etc.; Effect of rock type on nutrient patterns; Nutrient patterns of different species (Star diagrams of individual species, Species assemblages, Nutrient analyses); Uptake and accumulation of nutrients (Uptake and movement within the plant, Nutrient relations in sediments, Water relations, Conclusions); Downstream eutrophication.

9 Geographic distribution:
Summary; Introduction; Total EEC distributions of aquatic macrophytes; Watercourse distribution maps and their validity; Major geographic zones; Regions with plentiful and negligible vegetation and the causes for this Species distributions in watercourses (Fringing herbs, Tall monocotyledons, Water-supported species of more eutrophic habitats (Mauve-Red Colour bands), Species of oligotrophic and dystrophic habitats (Brown-Yellow Colour bands), Other species); Species distributions within countries.

10 Factors causing changes in rivers with particular reference to the twentieth century:
Summary; Introduction; Early vegetation; Precipitation; River discharges; Navigation; Mills and barriers (controls); Reservoirs and regulation; Water transfers; Abstraction; Water-cress beds (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum); Drainage, drainage improvement schemes, maintenance and excavation dredging; Water meadows and other penned water systems; Drainage and irrigation; Arableisation; Roads, towns, villages, etc.; Conclusion.

11 Changes in vegetation during a decade:
Summary; Introduction; The measurement and assessment of change (Changes over 1~(+) years, Types of changes in vegetation, Changes over ~9 years); Effects of the 1976 drought on river parameters (Diversity, Depth, Flow, Drying, Changes in macrophytes); Changes in canal vegetation; Discussion.

12 Downstream changes:
Summary; Introduction; River Maps (Britain, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, France (mainland), Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Italy (mainland)).

13 Plant communities in Britain:
Summary; Introduction; Lowland limestone streams of the south and east (Chalk streams, Oolite streams); Limestone streams of the north and west; Lowland sandstone streams of the south and east (Main type, Acid sands streams); Sandstone streams of the north and west (Upland streams, Mountain and Alpine streams, Lowland streams, Caithness); Clay streams (Lowland streams, Hill streams); Resistant rock streams (Lowland and bog-plain streams, Hill (upland, mountain and Alpine) streams); Coal Measures streams; Streams of catchments with mixed rock types; Dykes and drains, canals.

14 Plant communities in Germany:
Summary; Introduction; Limestone streams (Lowland-type mountain streams, Alpine limestone streams (and Alpine Resistant rock streams), Other streams); Calcareous moraine streams; Neutral moraine streams; Eutrophic moraine streams; Muschelkalk streams (Lowland and upland streams, Mountain streams); Chalk streams; Watercourses of alluvial (and other recent deposit) plains and low-lying ground to the north (Ost Friesland, Other areas); Rolling lowland sandstone streams; Streams of the Luneberger Heide; Watercourses of Schleswig Holstein; Hill sandstone streams (Pfalzer, Hunsruck, etc., Schwarzwald); Alpine and mountain Resistant rock streams (Alpine streams, Dissected plateaux and other mountain streams); Upland Resistant rock streams (Bayerischer Wald, etc., Oberpfalz); Lowland Resistant rock streams.

15 Plant communities in Denmark:
Summary; Introduction; Clay streams; Moraine sands streams; Fluvial sands streams; Chalk streams; Channels on coastal plains.

16 Plant communities in Belgium:
Summary; Introduction; Channels on the coastal plain; Clay and fertile sands streams; Lowland mix streams; Acid sands streams; South-eastern Belgian Lorraine (sandstone, etc.) streams; Resistant rock streams (Western (Hainault etc.), Ardennes).

17 Plant communities in Luxembourg:
Summary; Introduction; Lowland sandstone, etc. streams; Hilly Resistant rock streams.

18 Plant communities in Ireland:
Summary; Introduction; Limestone streams (Lowland streams, Mountain and upland streams); Resistant rock streams (Lowland streams, Mountain and upland streams); Streams on other rock types (Sandstone, Clay, Coal Measures).

19 Plant communities in The Netherlands:
Summary; Introduction; The assessment of vegetation quality; Introduction to plant communities; Drier ditches; Watercourses on sand (Terrace sands at higher levels, Low-lying sands); Watercourses on peat; Watercourses on clay.

20 Plant communities in (mainland) France:
Summary; Introduction; Limestone streams (Lowland (Jurassic) limestone streams, Chalk streams, Upland limestone streams, Mountain limestone streams, Alpine limestone streams, Hill limestone streams of the south); Muschelkalk streams; Clay streams; Sandstone streams (Main lowland sandstone streams, Streams on the very fertile sandstones, Southern and lowland-upland sandstone streams, Mountain sandstone streams, Central acid sands streams, Acid sands/alluvium streams of Gironde-Les Landes, Acid sands/Resistant rock streams in Brittany); Resistant rock streams (Lowland-upland Resistant rock streams in the north (apart from Brittany), Resistant rock streams of the Massif Central foothills, Resistant rock streams in the Massif Central, Resistant rock streams in the Vosges mountains, Resistant rock streams in the Alps, Resistant rock streams in the Pyrenees); Watercourses on coastal alluvial plains (Northwestern area, Western area, Rhône delta); Watercourses on inland alluvium and moraine.

21 Plant communities in (mainland) Italy:
Summary; Introduction; Channels of the Po plain (Clay-derived flowing channels south of the Po, Dykes and drains, Water courses along the northern edge of the Po plain, Lime-richflowing channels north of the Po); Upland (inland) Piedmont streams; Alpine streams in the west; Streams in the northern Alps; Streams in the north (western) Apennines; Streams in the central Apennines; North-western coastal streams; Carrara marble streams; Dykes and drains of the Pisa plain; Western coastal streams; Dykes and drains of the Latina plain; Streams of the southern Apennines; Streams in the far south; Salt pan channels of Apulia; Garigue streams of Apulia; Eastern coastal streams; South-north variation in vegetation.

22 Plant communities in Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica:
Summary; Introduction; Communities in Sicily; Communities in Sardinia; Communities in Corsica (Lowland streams, (Low) Mountain streams, Alpine mountain streams); Discussion.

23 Plant communities in south Norway:
Summary; Introduction; River types; Species distribution; Communities in Vestfold; Communities in Ostfold (including part of Akerhuis).

24 Community studies:
Summary; Diversity and the definition of communities (Definition of communities, Diversity and management); Diversities in different countries; Phyto-sociology; Geographical trends in communities (Limestone, Sandstone, Clay, Resistant rock, Conclusions); Structure and pattern; Separate river studies; Non-EEC rivers.

25 Community interpretation:
Summary; Key species; Core species (Size ii streams, Size iii streams, Habitat associations of core species. Group habitat associations of core species); Distribution and pattern interpretation by c2 analysis (Summary of factors used in classification, Detailed analysis of distributions in France, Conclusions from the c2 analyses); General river classification

26 Management and related interference I: Summary Canals and the effect of boats (Introduction, History and distribution, Effect of canalisation on downstream patterns of vegetation, Interactions between vegetation and boats); Herbicides and their effects; Groundwater Dykes and their flood hazards (Water movement and plant obstructions, Indices for assessing acceptable quantities of vegetation).

27 Management and related interference II:
Summary; Trees and shading (Introduction, Landscape, Control of stream vegetation); Dredging and channelling (Dredging management, River management, Drainage patterns); Cutting; Weed control by fish; Grazing by domestic animals; Land tenure and administration of water channels; General management.

28 Pollution patterns:
Summary; Introduction; Long-distance pollution and recovery from pollution with space (downstream self-purification) (Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, France, Italy (mainland), Sicily, Sardinia Non-EEC countries); Recovery from pollution with time; Countries with much pollution; Reductions in diversity (South Norway, Denmark, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Conclusions); Pollution-tolerant species and their distribution (Classification of pollution-tolerant species, Pollution-tolerant species in streams, Damage tolerant species in dykes, Pollution-tolerant species in relation to sites of low and high diversity); Small tributaries in France and Belgium; Increasing pollution in one river over 11 years; The work of Kohler and his associates and other similar researches ( Changes over several years, Downstream changes, Transplant tests, Response to different chemicals); Causes of damage.

29 Aspects of pollution:
Summary; Morphological effects of pollution (Decreased root development, Shoot habit and colour and development); Nutrient status of pollution-related communities; Self-purification; Pollution by sewage and similar effluents; Pollution by eutrophication; Pollution by heavy metals (Danish ochre streams); Pollution by biocides, minor organics and similar substances; Pollution by fish farms; Pollution by gravel extraction and quarries; Pollution from rice paddies; Pollution by wash-houses; Pollution by hot water; Pollution by acid precipitation; Environmental impact (Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Non-EEC countries).

30 Indices for damage and pollution:
Summary and Introduction; Advantages and disadvantages of monitoring with macrophytes; Areas where macrophyte indices can be used; Stream Damage Rating (Britain, Non-British EEC countries); Stream Pollution Index; Dyke and canal Damage Rating; Stream index comparisons (An example of a comparison of macrophyte and invertebrate indices, General comparison of macrophyte and invertebrate indices, Comparison of plant indices).




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