Advertisement

Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1484–1498 | Cite as

Influence of flow regime on the vegetation zonation along mountain streams in the Western Cape, South Africa

  • Erwin Jacobus Joannes SiebenEmail author
Article
  • 104 Downloads

Abstract

Zonation patterns of riparian vegetation have been sampled and described in mountain streams in two catchments in the Hottentots-Holland Mountains, Western Cape, South Africa. Six main vegetation types that differ in structure and species composition, are dominant along these river banks: Aquatic vegetation, Wetbanks, Palmiet, Scrub, Forest and Shrubland (Fynbos). The study aims to correlate the vegetation patterns to flooding patterns, in particular the inundation frequency and stream power. A problem arises: because these catchments are ungauged, like most mountain catchments, with the only weirs at the downstream end of the catchment. Discharge data at the weirs are extrapolated to the sites upstream by multiplication with a factor based on the size of the subcatchment that drains through a sample site. In this way, recurrence intervals for floods in mountain streams are derived. Discharges at sites are also calculated using bed roughness (Manning’s n) and slope in straight sections with uniform flow conditions. Stream power is derived from the discharges calculated in this manner. The combination of stream power and recurrence intervals explains the occurrence of most vegetation types occurring on the banks, except for one type: Afromontane Forest. This type is probably more dependent on other factors, such as protection from fire and the depth of the groundwater table.

Keywords

Hydrology Hydraulics Riparian vegetation Mountain streams Floods Stream power Manning’s n 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alexander WJR (1991) Flood hydrology for Southern Africa. South African National Committee on large dams, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  2. Auble GT, Friedman JM, Scott ML (1994) Relating riparian vegetation to present and future streamflows. Ecological Applications 4: 544–554. DOI: 10.2307/1941956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bendix J (1999) Stream power influence on southern Californian riparian vegetation. Journal of Vegetation Science 10: 243–252. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3237145 (Accessed on 5 Nov 2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bornette G, Tabacchi E, Hupp CR, et al. (2008) A model of plant strategies in fluvial hydrosystems. Freshwater Biology 53: 1692–1705. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2008.01994.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brinson MM (1990) Riverine forests. In: Lugo AE, Brinson MM, Brown S (eds), Ecosystems of the World No. 16. Forested Wetlands. Elsevier, Amsterdam, the NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  6. Cowling RM (1992) The ecology of fynbos; nutrients, fire and diversity. Oxford University Press, Cape Town, South Africa.Google Scholar
  7. Chow VT (1959) Open-channel hydraulics. McGraw Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Dalrymple T, Benson MA (1960) Measurement of peak discharge by the slope-area method. US Geol. Survey Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations, Book 3, Chapter A2, USGS, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  9. Davies BR, Day JA (1998) Vanishing waters. University of Cape Town Press, Rondebosch, South Africa.Google Scholar
  10. Dixon MD, Johnson WC (1999) Riparian vegetation along the middle Snake River, Idaho: zonation, geographical trends and historical changes. Great Basin Naturalist 59: 18–34. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41713083Google Scholar
  11. Eastman JR (1997) IDRISI for Windows, User’s Guide, Version 2.0, IDRISI production, Clark University, MA, USA.Google Scholar
  12. Ellery WN, Grenfell M, Grenfell S, et al. (2008) WET-Origins. Controls on the distribution and dynamics of wetlands in South Africa. Wetland Management Series. Water Research Commission Report No.TT 334/08, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  13. Featherstone RE, Nalluri C (1995) Civil engineering hydraulics. Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford, UK.Google Scholar
  14. Friedman JM, Osterkamp WR, Lewis WM (1996) The role of vegetation and bed-level fluctuations in the process of channel narrowing. Geomorphology 14: 341–351. DOI: 10.1016/0169-555X(95)00047-9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gordon ND, McMahon TA, Finlayson BI, et al. (2004) Stream hydrology. An introduction for ecologists. John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  16. Hirschowitz PM, James CS (2009) Transverse velocity distributions in channels with emergent bank vegetation. River Research & Applications 25: 1177–1192. DOI: 10.1002/rra.1216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Holmes PM, Richardson DM, Esler KJ, et al. (2005) A decisionmaking framework for restoring riparian zones degraded by invasive alien plants in South Africa. South African Journal of Science 101: 553–564.Google Scholar
  18. Hughes DA, Hannart P (2005) A desktop model used to provide an initial estimate of the ecological instream flow requirements of rivers in South Africa. Journal of Hydrology 270: 167–181. DOI: 10.1016/S0022-1694(02)00290-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hupp CR (1988) Plant ecological aspects of flood geomorphology and paleoflood history. In: Baker R, Kochel RC, Patton PC (eds). Flood geomorphology. John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA. pp 335–356.Google Scholar
  20. Hupp CR, Osterkamp WR (1996) Riparian vegetation and fluvial geomorphic processes. Geomorphology 14: 277–295. DOI: 10.1016/0169-555X(95)00042-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kopecky K (1969) Klassifikationsvorschlag der Vegetationsstandorte an den Ufern der tschechoslowakischen Wasserlaufe unter hydrologischen Gesichtspunkten [Report on the classification of vegetation stands on riverbanks of Czechoslovakian streams from a hydrological perspective]. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie [Archive for Hydrobiology] 66: 326–347. (In German)Google Scholar
  22. Lake PS (2000) Disturbance, patchiness, and diversity in streams. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 19: 573–592. DOI: 10.2307/1468118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lamberti GA, Gregory SV, Ashkenas LR, et al. (1991) Stream ecosystem recovery following a catastrophic debris flow. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48: 196–207. DOI: 10.1139/f91-027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Large ARG, Prach K (1999) Plants and water in streams and rivers. In: Baird AJ, Wilby RL (eds.), Ecohydrology: plants and Water in Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments. Routledge. London, UK. pp 237–268.Google Scholar
  25. Lavorel S, Garnier E (2002) Predicting changes in community composition and ecosystem functioning from plant traits: revisiting the Holy Grail. Functional Ecology 16: 545–556. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/826737 (Accessed on 5 Nov 2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lytle DA, Poff NL (2004) Adaptation to natural flow regimes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19: 94–100. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2003.10.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Manders PT, Richardson DM, Masson PH (1992) Is Fynbos a stage in succession to Forest? Analysis of the perceived ecological distinction between two communities. In: Van Wilgen BW, Richardson DM, Kruger FJ, Van Hensbergen HJ (eds) Fire in South African Mountain Fynbos; Ecosystem, community and species response at Swartboskloof. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.Google Scholar
  28. Menges ES, Waller DM (1983) Plant strategies in relation to elevation and light in floodplain herbs. American Naturalist 122: 454–473. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2461200 (Accessed on 5 Nov 2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Naeem S, Bunker DE, Hector A, et al. (2009) Biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and human wellbeing. An ecological and economic perspective. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. pp 368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Naiman RJ, Decamps H (1997) The ecology of interfaces: Riparian zones. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 28: 621–658. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2952507 (Accessed on 5 Nov 2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nilsson C (1987) Distribution of stream-edge vegetation along a gradient of current velocity. Journal of Ecology 75: 513–522. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2260430 (Accessed on 5 Nov 2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nilsson C, Jansson R, Zinko U (1997) Long-term responses of River-Margin Vegetation to Water-Level Regulation. Science 276: 798–800. DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5313.798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nilsson C, Berggren K (2000) Alterations of Riparian Ecosystems caused by River Regulation. Bioscience 50: 783–792. DOI: 10.1641/0006-3568(2000)05010783 0]CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Osterkamp WR, Hupp CR (2010) Fluvial processes and vegetation -glimpses of the past, present and perhaps the future. Geomorphology 110: 274–285. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.11.018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pezeshki SR (1994) Plant response to Flooding. In: Wilkinson RE (ed), Plant-environment interactions. Marcel Dekker, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  36. Pickett STA, White PS (1985) The ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, USA.Google Scholar
  37. Poff NL (1992) Why disturbances can be predictable: a perspective on the definition of disturbance in streams. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 11: 86–92. DOI: 10.2307/1467885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Poff NL, Allan JD, Bain MB, et al. (1997) The natural flow regime: a paradigm for river conservation and restoration. Bioscience 47: 769–784. DOI: 10.2307/1313099CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Postel S, Richter BD (2003) Rivers for life. Managing water for people and nature. Island press, Washington. p 253.Google Scholar
  40. Riis T, Biggs BJF (2003) Hydrologic and hydraulic control of macrophyte establishment and performance in streams. Limnology and Oceanography 48: 1488–1497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Quinn GP, Keough MJ (2002) Experimental design and data analysis for biologists. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. p 537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shiau JT, Wu FC (2009) Regionalization of natural flow regime: Application to environmental flow optimization at ungauged sites. River Research & Applications 25: 1071–1089. DOI: 10.1002/rra.1207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sieben EJJ, Reinecke MK (2008) Description of reference conditions for restoration projects from the species-rich fynbos biome. South African Journal of Botany 74: 401–411. DOI:10.1016/j.sajb.2008.01.176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Simons DB, Senturk F (1992) Sediment transport technology, water and sediment dynamics. Water Resources Publications. Denver, Colorado.Google Scholar
  45. Stevens LE, Schmidt JC, Ayers TJ, Brown BT (1995) Flow regulation, geomorphology and Colorado river marsh development in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Ecological Applications 5: 1025–1039. DOI: 10.2307/2269352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tainton NM (1999) Veld management in South Africa. University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. p 472.Google Scholar
  47. Taylor HC (1978) Capensis. In: Werger MJA (ed) Biogeography and Ecology of Southern Africa. Junk, The Hague. pp 171–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tiegs SD, O’Leary JF, Pohl MM, Munill CL (2005) Flood disturbance and riparian species diversity on the Colorado River Delta. Biodiversity and Conservation 14: 1175–1194. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-004-7841-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tooth S, McCarthy TS (2007) Wetlands in drylands: geomorphological and sedimentological characteristics, with emphasis on examples from southern Africa. Progress in Physical Geography 31: 3–41. DOI: 10.1177/0309133307073879CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tremolierès M, Sánchez-Pérez JM, Schnitzler A, Schmitt D (1998) Impact of river management history on the community structure, species composition and nutrient status in the Rhine alluvial hardwood forest. Plant Ecology 135: 59–78. DOI: 10.1023/A:1009756428824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Van Eck WHJM, Van de Steeg HM, Blom CWPM, De Kroon H (2005) Recruitment limitation along disturbance gradients in river floodplains. Journal of Vegetation Science 16: 103–110. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2005.tb02343.xGoogle Scholar
  52. Ward JV (1998) Riverine landscapes: Biodiversity patterns, disturbance regimes and aquatic conservation. Biological Conservation 83: 269–278. DOI:10.1016//0006-3207(97)00083-9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ward JV, Stanford JA (1979) The ecology of regulated streams. Plenum Press, New York, USA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Werger MJA (1974) On concepts and techniques applied in the Zürich-Montpellier method of vegetation survey. Bothalia 11: 309–323. DOI: 10.4102/abc.v11i3.1477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Westhoff V, Van der Maarel E (1973) The Braun-Blanquet Approach. In: Whittaker RH (ed), Ordination and classification of communities. Manual of Vegetation Science 6. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  56. Yang CT (1973) Incipient motion and sediment transport. Proceedings of the American Society for Civil Engineers 99 (HY10).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Free State, Qwaqwa Campus, Afromontane Research UnitPhuthaditjhabaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations