, Volume 556, Issue 1, pp 69–83

Effects of Landscape and Riparian Condition on a Fish Index of Biotic Integrity in a Large Southeastern Brazil River


DOI: 10.1007/s10750-005-9009-y

Cite this article as:
Pinto, B.C.T., Araujo, F.G. & Hughes, R.M. Hydrobiologia (2006) 556: 69. doi:10.1007/s10750-005-9009-y


Environmental conditions of a large river in southeastern Brazil were assessed by evaluating fish assemblage structure (index of biotic integrity, IBI), landscape use (forest, pasture, urban area, and tributary water) and riparian condition. A survey of the 338 km-long middle reach of the Rio Paraiba do Sul, containing a large urban-industrial complex, was conducted in two seasons: summer/wet and winter/dry. Fish were sampled with a standardized level of effort twice at seven sites, between March 2001 and April 2002, by gill nets, cast nets, sieves and seines. Riparian condition was evaluated by direct observations, and land use maps were used to assess landscape condition of an 8 km2 buffer surrounding each site. IBI scores ranged from 5 to 36 (out of a possible range of 4–40), with lowest values at an urban-industrial landscape, and highest scores upstream and downstream, indicating the river’s recovery capacity. The most appropriate time to assess IBI was during the winter/dry period, when sampling was more effective and the IBI was more sensitive to changes in environmental quality. Landscape use and riparian condition were correlated, and IBI was positively correlated with % pasture, % tributary area, and riparian condition, but negatively correlated with % urban area. In some cases urban areas eliminated riparian woody vegetation, destabilizing site physical habitat structure.


fish assemblageslandusetropical riverspollution

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. C. T. Pinto
    • 1
  • F. G. Araujo
    • 1
  • R. M. Hughes
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecologia de PeixesUniversidade Federal Rural do Rio de JaneiroSeropedicaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA