Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 775-792

First online:

Geodiversity in the Yellow River source zone

  • Brendon BlueAffiliated withSchool of Environment, University of Auckland Email author 
  • , Gary BrierleyAffiliated withSchool of Environment, University of Auckland
  • , Guo-an YuAffiliated withKey Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS

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It is a key premise of ‘ecosystem approaches’ to natural resources management that we must have an appropriate understanding of biodiversity values, and controls upon them, if we wish to manage them effectively. These biodiversity values, and associated ecosystem functionality, vary with space and time and are tied directly to landscape-scale relationships and evolutionary traits. In riverine systems, nested hierarchical principles provide a useful platform to assess relationships between landscape components across a range of scales. These understandings are most instructively synthesized through catchment-scale analyses. This paper outlines a rationale for systematic catchment-wide appraisals of river geodiversity. An initial application of these principles is presented for the Yellow River source zone in Qinghai Province, western China. Geo-ecological relationships are outlined for five broad sections of the trunk stream, highlighting implications for the management of these individual landscape compartments and for the system as a whole.


geodiversity river classification anabranching Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Sanjiangyuan Yellow River source zone