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Environmentalist

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 119–131 | Cite as

Ecohydrology and fisheries of the upper Brahmaputra basin

  • Sanchita Boruah
  • S.P. Biswas
Article

Abstract

The Brahmaputra changes its course and pattern along with its current flow very frequently especially in its upper stretches and this has a strong bearing on its hydrobiology. The hydro-geological pattern of the Brahmaputra has resulted in a possible zonation of the river into five major types of fish habitat. Altogether 167 fish species have been recorded from the upper Brahmaputra of which about 30 percent may be considered as ornamental varieties. Again, according to their seasonal availability, the fish fauna has been grouped into four principal categories. Among all the hydrological factors, flood impulse is probably the strongest factor that regulates other limnological conditions and faunal distribution. Usually, there are three or four high floods between May and October and fish migration is intimately related to this flood regime. During the dry season fishing is mostly restricted to near the confluents of tributaries or channels and also at river meanders. However, large-scale felling of trees in the catchment areas and construction of embankments along the river banks have altered the riverine ecosystem drastically, as a result of which, the river has become heavily silted and the connecting channels of the floodplain lakes are also dammed. Consequently, fishes and other megafauna are deprived of adequate water cover, food supply and breeding grounds. An ecohydrological approach has been advocated for habitat restoration.

ecohydrology River Brahmaputra fish assemblage habitat distribution flood regime 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanchita Boruah
    • 1
  • S.P. Biswas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesDibrugarh UniversityAssamIndia

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