Scientists Say River Systems Take Second Fiddle in Nature Reserves

blue green river photo

Photo via Nicholas_T via Flickr CC

A new study shows that the conservation efforts that include the Iberian river basins are fragmented, and that fact is doing a lot of harm for the health of the rivers as a whole. They recommend that in order to help the river systems, there needs to be a stronger networking of rivers into the nature reserves through which they flow, since often water ways are not included in the layout of land-based conservation efforts. And with 92% of the species in one of those basis, the Guadiana River basin, are under threat, it needs to happen fast.Science Daily reports:

The study, which has been published in the latest issue of Hydrobiologia, is based on the premise that there are few nature reserves for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity. "Rivers have been treated as being of secondary importance, unless they represent an opportunity to conserve the land environment", Hermoso adds.

To date, the criteria used to select protected areas have had "nothing to do with conservation", the scientist points out. Factors such as scenic value, lack of development, inaccessibility and low potential for commercial use are applied to select areas, resulting in "conservation strategies focused on areas that are the easiest to protect and with the least need for short-term protection."

Networking the river systems into the nature reserves and conservation efforts would help scientists to study the biodiversity of the waterways, and better understand what rivers and what species within those rivers need attention. Right now, the scientists are looking at how they can incorporate criteria for connectivity, ecological processes and climate change effects into how aquatic reserves are chosen. Considering how vital rivers are to the health of the nature reserves being protected, it only makes sense to include them in the mix.

Via Science Daily
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