, Volume 175, Issue 1, pp 65–82 | Cite as

An integrated approach to hydropower impact assessment

II. Submerged macrophytes in some Norwegian hydro-electric lakes
  • Bjørn Rørslett


The submerged aquatic vegetation of 17 Norwegian lakes is described and related to the environmental impacts that result from hydro-electric power (HEP) use of these lakes. Largely based upon physiognomical features, three main community types are discerned. These are denoted as (a) shallow-water, (b) mid-depth, and (c) deep-water community, respectively. The aquatic macrophytes are classified into a plant strategy framework. This classification suggests that these macrophytes frequently exhibit combined traits of the ‘S’ (stress-tolerating), ‘R’ (ruderal), and ‘C’ (competitive) strategies. A plant-strategy index for the lakes is derived from the species classification and related to their HEP use.

Broadly, the response features of hydrolake vegetation are: (1) a decline in species richness; (2) the gradual disappearance of the shallow-water and mid-depth communities; (3) a conspicuous absence of vascular submerged macrophytes in storage hydrolakes when lake levels change more than 7 m annually, and; (4) an increased incidence of species possessing plant strategies of the ruderal (R) type. The implications of these results for an environmental impact assessment of hydropower schemes are discussed.

Key words

submerged macrophytes spatial niches vertical distribution environmental impact assessment hydropower disturbance stress water-level fluctuation reservoirs hydrolakes Norway 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bjørn Rørslett
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Water ResearchOslo 3Norway

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