Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2016-626
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
15 Dec 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.
Evaluating primary productivity, ripple effect and resilience of fluvial ecosystems: a new approach to assessing environmental flow requirement
Yui Shinozaki and Naoki Shirakawa Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Tsukuba, Tennoudai 1-1-1 Tsukuba, 3058573, Japan
Abstract. Productivity, ripple effect and resilience are characteristics of fluvial ecosystems. To evaluate these factors and develop new criteria for estimating environmental flow requirement (EFR), we propose a fluvial biomass model which calculates the amount of aquatic biomass accumulated through physical and climatic processes. Using this model, we introduce the indices of Contribution to Downstream Ecosystems (CDE) and Ecological Recovery Time (ERT) and apply them in the estimation of global EFRs. Average EFR values were estimated at 42 % of mean annual discharge. In comparison with previous global EFR estimates based on flow regime only, our model suggests 20 %–50 % higher values in monsoonal and savanna regions with high ecological richness, and in the lower reaches of large rivers in the higher latitudes where primary productivity is low and ecosystems largely depend on allochthonous biomass supply. The main advantage of our model is the ability to set variable EFRs within a river basin based on differences in ecological characteristics driven by climatic conditions and tributaries. Taking such longitudinal differences in EFR into account aids in developing integrated water allocation strategies by reflecting differences in water resource availability for humans within a catchment.

Citation: Shinozaki, Y. and Shirakawa, N.: Evaluating primary productivity, ripple effect and resilience of fluvial ecosystems: a new approach to assessing environmental flow requirement, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2016-626, 2016.
Yui Shinozaki and Naoki Shirakawa
Yui Shinozaki and Naoki Shirakawa

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Short summary
For sustainable water resource management, it is necessary to estimate environmental flow requirements (EFR) for healthy freshwater ecosystems. To assess EFR, we proposed a model focused on primary production, accumulation and transportation of aquatic plant biomass in rivers. Based on this model, we estimated EFR at a global scale. Our model is able to set different EFRs within a river basin based on differences in ecological richness and vulnerability using well-known ecological mechanisms.
For sustainable water resource management, it is necessary to estimate environmental flow...
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