Environmental Management

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 607–617

The reversible process concept applied to the environmental management of large river systems

  • Claude Amoros
  • Jean -Claude Rostan
  • Guy Pautou
  • Jean -Paul Bravard
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DOI: 10.1007/BF01880159

Cite this article as:
Amoros, C., Rostan, J.C., Pautou, G. et al. Environmental Management (1987) 11: 607. doi:10.1007/BF01880159

Abstract

The wetland ecosystems occurring within alluvial floodplains change rapidly. Within the ecological successions, the life span of pioneer and transient stages may be measured in several years or decades depending on the respective influences of allogenic (water dynamics, erosion, and deposition) and autogenic developmental processes (population dynamics, eutrophication, and terrestrialization). This article emphasizes the mechanisms that are responsible for the ecosystem changes and their importance to environmental management. Two case studies exemplify reversible and irreversible successional processes in reference to different spatial and temporal scales. On the scale of the former channels, the standing-water ecosystems with low homeostasis may recover their previous status after human action on the allogenic processes. On the scale of a whole reach of the floodplain, erosion and deposition appear as reversible processes that regenerate the ecological successions. The concepts of stability and reversibility are discussed in relation to different spatiotemporal referential frameworks and different levels of integration. The reversible process concept is also considered with reference to the energy inputs into the involved subsystems. To estimate the probability of ecosystem regeneration or the cost of restoration, a concept of “degrees of reversibility” is proposed.

Key words

Landscape ecologyWetlandsEcological successionSpatiotemporal scalesStability, recovery

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claude Amoros
    • 1
  • Jean -Claude Rostan
    • 1
  • Guy Pautou
    • 2
  • Jean -Paul Bravard
    • 3
  1. 1.UA CNRS 367 Laboratoire d'Ecologie des Eaux DoucesUniversité Lyon 1Villeurbanne CedexFrance
  2. 2.UA CNRS 242 Ecologie et Biogéographie des Grands Systèmes MontagneuxUniversité STM de GrenobleSt Martin d'Hères CedexFrance
  3. 3.UA CNRS 260, Géographie RhodanienneUniversité Lyon 3Lyon CedexFrance