Use and management
Freshwaters are used in many ways: as a drinking water supply, for industrial transportation and for recreation. All these functions, also referred to as ecosystem services, can only be ensured if rivers and lakes are in a good ecological state. Since its introduction in 2002, the Water Framework Directive has called for just that. And yet water is a scarce resource in many regions of the world. The growing pressure caused by mining, industry, hydroelectric power production and agriculture affects water quality and the passage of freshwaters. At IGB, we develop concepts for the future-oriented management of freshwater resources for the welfare of humans and nature. We investigate how anthropogenic influences affect freshwaters, and how lakes, flowing waters and wetlands can be used sustainably and revitalised efficiently.
The study shows: Europe has some of the most fragmented rivers in the world. On average, there is about one barrier per 1.4 kilometres of stream, in Germany even two barriers per kilometre. Small transverse structures with an impoundment height of less than two metres account for the lion's share. The study also shows opportunities for reconnecting streams and rivers.
Spatial and temporal variability of methane emissions from cascading reservoirs in the Upper Mekong River
Potential sediment methane production rates increase along the reservoir cascade in the Upper Mekong River. Ebullition is an important but previously overlooked pathway for methane emission. Both diffusive and ebullitive fluxes show high intra and inter reservoir variability. Fluxes fall into the low-to-mid range of global estimates for hydropower reservoirs.
The authors reviewed ecological studies in historic canal systems, examined the potential of historic canals to contribute to aquatic biodiversity conservation, and provided suggestions to promote biodiversity conservation given the opportunities and challenges in canal management (e.g., nature conservation vs historic preservation).
The role of connectivity in the interplay between climate change and the spread of alien fish in a large Mediterranean river
Dams exacerbate the consequences of climate change on river fish: A potential response of river fish to environmental changes is to colonise new habitats. Dams restrict the habitats of fish, but do not necessarily prevent the spread of invasive species, as Johannes Radinger and his team found.
In this Letter to Science the researchers argue that effective application of animal welfare in conservation is also possible if it is based on objective and measurable parameters of animal welfare – without relying on concepts such as consciousness, sentience or pain.