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.

Selected publications

October 2021
Hydrological Processes. - 35(2021)10, Art. e14377

Isotope hydrology and water sources in a heavily urbanized stream

Christian Marx; Dörthe Tetzlaff; Reinhard Hinkelmann; Chris Soulsby

The authors studied Isotopes in Berlin’s Panke catchment to understand stream flow sources. Groundwater dominated the upper catchment, but ~90% of flow in the lower catchment was treated waste water. High flows were generated from urban drains. The stream has unnatural hydrological and chemical regimes with restoration needed for improved ecology. 

October 2021
Nature Communications. - 12(2021), Art. 5693

Rewetting does not return drained fen peatlands to their old selves

J. Kreyling; F. Tanneberger; F. Jansen; S. van der Linden; C. Aggenbach; V. Blüml, J. Couwenberg; W-J Emsens; H. Joosten; A. Klimkowska; W. Kotowski; L. Kozub; B. Lennartz; Y. Liczner; H. Liu; D. Michaelis; C. Oehmke; K. Parakenings; E. Pleyl; A. Poyda; S. Raabe; M. Röhl; K. Rücker; A. Schneider; J. Schrautzer; C. Schröder; F. Schug; E. Seeber; F. Thiel; S. Thiele; B. Tiemeyer; T. Timmermann; T. Urich; R. van Diggelen; K. Vegelin; E. Verbruggen; M. Wilmking; N. Wrage-Mönnig; L. Wołejko; D. Zak; G. Jurasinski

Rewetted peatlands have the potential to fulfil the restoration goals including those targeting climate change mitigation, water quality protection, and species conservation. However, due to heavy soil changes their restoration cannot be expected in short-term. Data analyser of several hundred natural and degraded peatlands have shown that it might last decades before they become fully recovered.

September 2021
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London : Ser. B, Biological Sciences. - 288(2021)1959, Art. 20211623

Ecological impacts of water-based recreational activities on freshwater ecosystems: a global meta-analysis

Malwina Schafft; Benjamin Wegner; Nora Meyer; Christian Wolter; Robert Arlinghaus

The authors have summarised and evaluated the scientific literature on recreational ecology in a meta-study. Although all recreational activities can have negative impacts on plants, animals and the environment, they conclude that boat traffic and shoreline use have the most consistently negative impacts. 

May 2021
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. - 145(2021), Art. 111003

A review of hydropower plants in Romania: distribution, current knowledge, and their effects on fish in headwater streams

Gabriela Costea; Martin T. Pusch; Doru Bănăduc; Diana Cosmoiu; Angela Curtean-Bănăduc

Hydropower is renewable, but mostly not environmentally friendly. The study shows for Romania how the expansion of hydropower runs counter to the goals of EU environmental policy. Hydropower conflicts with the requirements of the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive and the European Water Framework Directive: around half of the hydropower plants in Romania are located in nature conservation areas.

February 2021
Journal of Environmental Management. - 286(2021), Art. 112100

How much habitat does a river need?: a spatially-explicit population dynamics model to assess ratios of ontogenetical habitat needs

David Farò; Guido Zolezzi; Christian Wolter

The authors used a spatially explicit population dynamics model for the barbel to investigate the functional dependencies of sub-habitats. They showed that revitalising only spawning or only juvenile habitats is not effective; the functional unit and a minimum size of habitats are essential. The model helps to predict the revitalisation success on the basis of the size.

Related Projects

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Experts at IGB

Robert Arlinghaus

Research Group Leader
Research group
Integrative Recreational Fisheries Management

Jörn Gessner

Research Group Leader
Research group
Reintroduction of the European Sturgeon to Germany

Michael Hupfer

Research Group Leader
Research group
Biogeochemical Processes in Sediments and Lake Management

Martin Pusch

Research Group Leader
Research group
Functional Ecology and Management of Rivers and Lake Shores

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