Landscape and Ecological Engineering

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Return period of flood disturbance that increases diversity on gravel bars in middle stream of rivers

Original Paper


Although medium-class flood disturbance is highly correlated with diversity of vegetated area of river habitat, it is still not clearly defined due to its complexity. To describe flood disturbance characteristics, two indices, breakage or overturning index and washout index, are used to express the breaking condition of trees and washout condition of trees and grasses. The relationship between diversity index of vegetated area (DI), calculated using vegetation species maps, and flood disturbance index (Ii), which represents the expected value of different flood disturbances, was investigated on four gravel bars in the Karasugawa River, Japan. The flood disturbance indices in Region A (high possibility to be a forest) and Region E (high possibility to be a bare area, as defined in this study) are identified as indicators for medium-class flood disturbance in this study. Moreover, this study confirms the results of previous studies on the Arakawa and Tamagawa Rivers, Japan, and their applicability to other rivers. In addition, the relationship between flood disturbance and DI in Region A or E explains the effect of flow regulation by construction of dams and weirs in river upstream on the downstream river habitat. Furthermore, based on the observed data and calculated results related to the possibility of vegetation and bare area on gravel bars in all investigated rivers, a range of flood return periods for medium-class flood disturbance for habitats on gravel bars was defined as 3–12.5 years, where the lower and upper values are related to the possibility of the presence of vegetation and the possibility of being a bare area, respectively.


Flood frequency Medium-class flood disturbance River forestation Shear stress 


  1. Asaeda T, Rajapakse L (2008) Effects of spates of different magnitudes on a Phragmites japonica population on a sandbar of a frequently disturbed river. River Res Appl 24(9):1310–1324. doi:10.1002/rra.1128 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Asaeda T, Rashid M (2012) The impacts of sediment released from dams on downstream sediment bar vegetation. J Hydrol 430–431:25–38. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.01.040 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asaeda T, Siong K, Kawashima T, Sakamoto K (2009) Growth of Phragmites japonica on a sandbar of regulated river: morphological adaptation of the plant to low water and nutrient availability in the substrate. River Res Appl 25(7):874–891. doi:10.1002/rra.1191 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Asaeda T, Gomes PIA, Sakamoto K, Rashid MH (2011a) Tree colonization trends on a sediment bar after a major flood. River Res Appl 27(8):976–984. doi:10.1002/rra.1372 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Asaeda T, Rashid MH, Kotagiri S, Uchida T (2011b) The role of soil characteristics in the succession of two herbaceous lianas in a modified river floodplain. River Res Appl 27(5):591–601. doi:10.1002/rra.1374 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Azami K, Suzuki H, Toki S (2004) Changes in riparian vegetation communities below a large dam in a monsoonal Region: Futase Dam, Japan. River Res Appl 20(5):549–563. doi:10.1002/rra.763 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Connell JH (1978) Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science 199(4335):1302–1310PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Egger E, Benjankar R, Davis L, Jorde K (2007) Simulated effects of dam operation and water diversion on riparian vegetation of the lower Boise river Idaho. In: Proceedings of 32nd IAHR Congress, CD-ROM, USAGoogle Scholar
  9. Gilvear D, Willby N (2006) Channel dynamics and geomorphic variability as controls on gravel bar vegetation; River Tummel, Scotland. River Res Appl 22:457–474. doi:10.1002/rra.917 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gomes PIA, Asaeda T (2009) Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of Eragrostis curvula in the downstream flood meadow of a regulated river. Annales de Limnologie: Int J Limnol 45(3):181–193. doi:10.1051/limn/2009015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hosoda T (2002) River flow analysis by generalized coordinate system. In: Programme library for hydraulic engineering (in Japanese). CD-ROM (ISBN 4-8106-0203-6)Google Scholar
  12. Hosoda T, Nagata N, Muramoto H (1996) Numerical analysis of unsteady open channel flows by means of moving boundary fitted coordinated system (in Japanese with English abstract). J Hydraul Eng JSCE 533(II-34): 267–272Google Scholar
  13. Junk WJ, Bayley PB, Sparks RE (1989) The flood-pulse concept in river floodplain systems. In: Dodge DP (ed) Proceedings of the international large river symposium, Canadian special publication of fisheries and aquatic sciences, vol 106, pp 110–127Google Scholar
  14. Kouwen N, Fathi-Morgan M (2000) Friction factors for coniferous trees along rivers. J Hydraul Eng 126(10):732–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Maekawa M, Nakagoshi N (1997) Riparian landscape changes over a period of 46 years, on the Azusa River in Central Japan. Landscape Urban Plan 37:37–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Maeno S, Watanabe S (2008) Field experiment to restore a gravel bar and control growth of trees in the Asahi River. Int J River Basin Manag 6(3):225–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Melville BW, Dongol DM (1992) Bridge pier scour with debris accumulation. J Hydraul Eng 118(9):1306–1310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Naiman RJ, Fetherston KL, McKay S, Chen J (1998) Riparian forest. In: Naiman RJ, Bilby RE (eds) River ecology and management: lessons from the Pacific coastal ecoRegion. Springer, New York, pp 289–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. New T, Xie Z (2008) Impacts of large dams on riparian vegetation: applying global experience to the case of China’s Three Gorges Dam. Biodivers Conserv 17(13):3149–3163. doi:10.1007/s10531-008-9416-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nilsson C (1987) Distribution of stream-edge vegetation along a gradient of current velocity. J Ecol 75(2):513–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pinay G, Décamps H, Chauvet E, Fustuc E (1990) Functions of ecotones in fluvial systems. In: Naiman RJ, Décamps H (eds) The ecology and management of aquatic-terrestrial ecotones, vol 4. UNESCO Publications, Paris, pp 141–169Google Scholar
  22. Richardson JS, Naiman RJ, Swanson FJ, Hibbs DE (2005) Riparian communities associated with Pacific Northwest headwater streams: assemblages, processes, and uniqueness. J Am Water Resour Assoc 41:935–947. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.2005.tb03778.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Shannon CE, Weaver W (1949) The mathematical theory of communication. University Illinois Press, UrbanaGoogle Scholar
  24. Simpson EH (1949) Measurement of diversity. Nature 163:688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stokes KE (2008) Exotic invasive black willow (Salix nigra) in Australia: influence of hydrological regimes on population dynamics. Plant Ecol 197:91–105. doi:10.1007/s11258-007-9363-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Takemura T, Tanaka N (2007) Flow structures and drag characteristics of a colony-type emergent roughness model mounted on a flat plate in uniform flow. Fluid Dyn Res 39:694–710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tanaka N, Yagisawa J (2009a) Effects of tree characteristics and substrate condition on critical breaking moment of trees due to heavy flooding. Landsc Ecol Eng 5(1):59–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tanaka N, Yagisawa J (2009b) Indices for evaluating the breaking and wash-out condition of trees on gravel bar at flood events. In: Proceedings of 33rd IAHR, Vancouver, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  29. Tanaka N, Yagisawa J (2010) Flow structures and sedimentation characteristics around clump-type vegetation. J Hydro Environ Res 4(1):15–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tanaka N, Yagisawa J (2012) Index of medium-class flood disturbance for increasing diversity of vegetation at gravel bars or islands in middle of rivers. Int J River Basin Manag 10(3):255–267. doi:10.1080/15715124.2012.681661 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tanaka N, Sasaki Y, Mowjood MIM (2006) Effects of sand dune and vegetation in the coastal area of Sri Lanka at the Indian Ocean tsunami. In: Namsik P et al (eds) Advances in geosciences, vol 6. World Scientific, Singapore, pp 149–159Google Scholar
  32. Tanaka N, Yagisawa J, Kikuji Y, Sato T, Fukuoka S (2011) Index for expressing vegetation breakage and washout by flood disturbance and highly correlated with biodiversity on gravel-bed bars (in Japanese). Adv River Eng JSCE 17:227–232Google Scholar
  33. Tockner K, Stanford JA (2002) Riverine flood plains: present state and future trends. Environ Conserv 29:308–330. doi:10.1017/S037689290200022X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tockner K, Schiemer F, Ward JV (1998) Conservation by restoration: the management concept for a river-floodplain system on the Danube River in Austria. Aquatic Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosystem 8:71–86. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0755(199801/02)8:1<71:AID-AQC265>3.0.CO;2-D CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vervuren PJA, Blom CWPM, Kroon HD (2003) Extreme flooding events on the Rhine and the survival and distribution of riparian plant species. J Ecol 91:135–146. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2745.2003.00749.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wintle BC, Kirkpatrick JB (2007) The response of riparian vegetation to flood-maintained habitat heterogeneity. Austral Ecol 32:592–599. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2007.01753.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wyzga B (2001) Impact of the channelization-induced incision of the Skawa and Wisloka Rivers, Southern Poland, on the conditions of overbank deposition. Regul Rivers Res Manag 17(1):85–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Consortium of Landscape and Ecological Engineering and Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, Graduate School of Science and EngineeringSaitama UniversitySaitama-shiJapan

Personalised recommendations