Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 78, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

A multi-scale hierarchical framework for developing understanding of river behaviour to support river management

  • A. M. Gurnell
  • M. Rinaldi
  • B. Belletti
  • S. Bizzi
  • B. Blamauer
  • G. Braca
  • A. D. Buijse
  • M. Bussettini
  • B. Camenen
  • F. Comiti
  • L. Demarchi
  • D. García de Jalón
  • M. González del Tánago
  • R. C. Grabowski
  • I. D. M. Gunn
  • H. Habersack
  • D. Hendriks
  • A. J. Henshaw
  • M. Klösch
  • B. Lastoria
  • A. Latapie
  • P. Marcinkowski
  • V. Martínez-Fernández
  • E. Mosselman
  • J. O. Mountford
  • L. Nardi
  • T. Okruszko
  • M. T. O’Hare
  • M. Palma
  • C. Percopo
  • N. Surian
  • W. van de Bund
  • C. Weissteiner
  • L. Ziliani
Research Article

Abstract

This paper introduces this special issue of Aquatic Sciences. It outlines a multi-scale, hierarchical framework for developing process-based understanding of catchment to reach hydromorphology that can aid design and delivery of sustainable river management solutions. The framework was developed within the REFORM (REstoring rivers FOR effective catchment Management) project, funded by the European Union’s FP7 Programme. Specific aspects of this ‘REFORM framework’ and some applications are presented in other papers in this special issue. The REFORM framework is founded on previous hierarchical frameworks, sixteen examples of which are reviewed. However, the REFORM framework has some particular properties that reflect the European context for which it was developed. The framework delineates regional landscapes into nested spatial units at catchment, landscape unit, segment, reach, geomorphic unit and finer scales. Reaches, regardless of their ‘naturalness’, are assigned to a river type based on valley confinement, planform and bed material. Indicators are quantified at each spatial scale to feed three groups of assessments. First, contemporary indicators at reach and geomorphic unit scales investigate present processes, forms and human pressures within each reach. These feed assessments of present reach hydromorphological function/alteration, including whether the reach is functioning appropriately for its type; riparian corridor function and alteration; and hydromorphological adjustment. Second, indicators at catchment to segment scales investigate water and sediment production and delivery to reaches and how these are affected by human pressures now and in the past. These are used to construct an inventory of changes over space and time. Third, historical reach and geomorphic unit scale indicators are used to construct the trajectory of reach-scale changes. Contemporary reach-scale assessments, space–time inventory, and trajectory of changes are then combined to establish how river reaches of different type, subject to different human pressures, and located in different environmental contexts behave in response to changes at all considered spatial scales. These support forecasts of the likely responses of reaches to future scenarios (e.g., changes in climate, land cover, channel interventions).

Keywords

REFORM framework Space scale Time scale Hydromorphology River management River rehabilitation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Gurnell
    • 1
  • M. Rinaldi
    • 2
  • B. Belletti
    • 2
  • S. Bizzi
    • 3
  • B. Blamauer
    • 4
  • G. Braca
    • 5
  • A. D. Buijse
    • 6
  • M. Bussettini
    • 5
  • B. Camenen
    • 7
  • F. Comiti
    • 8
  • L. Demarchi
    • 3
  • D. García de Jalón
    • 9
  • M. González del Tánago
    • 9
  • R. C. Grabowski
    • 10
  • I. D. M. Gunn
    • 11
  • H. Habersack
    • 4
  • D. Hendriks
    • 6
  • A. J. Henshaw
    • 1
  • M. Klösch
    • 4
  • B. Lastoria
    • 5
  • A. Latapie
    • 7
  • P. Marcinkowski
    • 13
  • V. Martínez-Fernández
    • 9
  • E. Mosselman
    • 6
    • 14
  • J. O. Mountford
    • 12
  • L. Nardi
    • 2
  • T. Okruszko
    • 13
  • M. T. O’Hare
    • 11
  • M. Palma
    • 15
  • C. Percopo
    • 5
  • N. Surian
    • 15
  • W. van de Bund
    • 3
  • C. Weissteiner
    • 3
  • L. Ziliani
    • 15
  1. 1.School of GeographyQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  3. 3.Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES), Water Resources UnitEuropean Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)IspraItaly
  4. 4.Christian Doppler Laboratory of Advanced Methods in River Monitoring, Modelling and EngineeringInstitute of Water Management, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences ViennaViennaAustria
  5. 5.Water Protection DepartmentIstituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA)RomeItaly
  6. 6.DeltaresDelftThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Irstea Lyon, UR HHLYVilleurbanneFrance
  8. 8.Faculty of Science and TechnologyFree University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly
  9. 9.ETSI Montes, Universidad Politecnica de MadridMadridSpain
  10. 10.Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield UniversityCranfieldUK
  11. 11.NERC-Centre for Ecology and HydrologyMidlothianUK
  12. 12.NERC-Centre for Ecology and HydrologyWallingfordUK
  13. 13.Department of Water Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Environmental EngineeringWarsaw University of Life SciencesWarsawPoland
  14. 14.Faculty of Civil Engineering and GeosciencesDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  15. 15.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly

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