Good practice management of riparian vegetation

Effectiveness for Biological Quality Elements

Vegetation management has been show to benefit biodiversity and hence improve habitat quality for invertebrates and fish:

  • Ormerod et al. (1993) Riparian management can influence stream habitat structure and, to some extent, the macroinvertebrate fauna in the stream margins. Buffer strips consisting of broadlead trees and moorland/grassland vegetation have different effects on taxonomic composition and abundance.

Similarly, the presence of riparian vegetation has been found to result in a greater diversity of fish species when under pressure from an urbanized environment:

  • Horwitz et al. (2008) The joing influences of riparian vegetation and urbanization on fish assemblages were analyzed by depletion sampling in paired forested and non-forested reaches of 25 smalls tream along an urbanization gradient. There was a strong urbanization gradient, with reductions of intolerant species and increases of tolerant species and omnivores with increasing urbanization. Interactions between riparain vegetation type and urbanization were found for a range of fish species.


Chovanec, A., Shierner, F., Waidbacher, H. and Spolwind, R. (2002) Rehabilitation of a heavily modified river section of the Danube in Vienna (Austria): Biological assessment of landscape linkages on different scales. International Review of Hydrobiology, 87, 2-3, pp183-195.

Clarke, S.J. and Wharton, G. (2000) An investigation of marginal habitat and macrophyte community enhacnement on the River Torne, Uk. Regulated Rivers: Research & Management, 16, pp225-244.

Horwitz, R.J., Johnson, T.E., Overbeck, P.F. and O'Donnell, T.K. (2008) Effects of riparian vegetation and watershed urbanization on fishes in streams of the mid-Atlantic piedmont (USA). Journal of the American water resource association, 44, 3, pp724-741.

Ormerod, S.J., Rundle, S.D., Lloyd, E.C. and Douglas, A.A. (1993) The influence of riparian management on the habitat structure and macroinvertebrate communities of upland streams draining plantation forests. Journal of Applied Ecology, 30, 1, pp13-24.