Water:Bio:Sphere "streams, rivers and alluvial forests"

Streams and rivers form our landscape, their natural dynamics are mesmerizing. Together with their alluvial forests, they form an ecological unit subject to intensive interaction: The force of the water shapes alluvial habitats such as cut-off meanders, eroded banks and gravel bars, and the change of floods and low water levels creates living conditions for their characteristic flora and fauna. At the same time, the alluvial forests also influence streams as they store water and in case of floods provide for slow runoff and cleaning of the water. Both the streams and their alluvial forests are habitats for diverse communities including rare and endangered species.

Streams and alluvial forests are important to humans in many respects. Rivers and streams are used for generating energy and as transport routes. Alluvial forests are natural retention areas, reducing flood peaks and storing vast amounts of (potable) water underground; furthermore they provide a valuable resource: wood.

Both streams and alluvial forests exercise great fascination on humans. They are popular destinations for recreationalists looking for rest and relaxation, exercise and adventure in the outdoors, going hiking, cycling, canoeing, kayaking or rafting as diversion to their everyday lives. However, streams, rivers and alluvial forests are ecosystems very sensitive
to disturbances of any kind. Especially use by people looking for rest and relaxation often competes with requirements of flora and fauna such as different species of bird, fish or amphibians which are often disturbed in their natural habitat by a numerous recreationalists.

Water:Bio:Sphere brochure "streams, rivers and alluvial forests" (in German) -->