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A comprehensive assessment of stream fragmentation in Great Britain / Joshua Jones; Luca Börger; Jeroen Tummers; Peter Jones; Martyn Lucas; Jim Kerr; Paul Kemp; Simone Bizzi; Sofia Consuegra; Lucio Marcello; Andrew Vowles; Barbara Belletti; Eric Verspoor; Wouter Van de Bund; Peter Gough; Carlos Garcia de Leaniz

Science of The Total Environment, Volume: 673, Pages: 756 - 762

Swansea University Author: Borger, Luca

  • Accepted Manuscript under embargo until: 10th April 2020

Abstract

Artificial barriers are one of the main threats to river ecosystems, resulting in habitat fragmentation and loss of connectivity. Yet, the abundance and distribution of most artificial barriers, excluding high-head dams, is poorly documented. We provide a comprehensive assessment of the distribution...

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Published in: Science of The Total Environment
ISSN: 00489697
Published: 2019
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa50800
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Abstract: Artificial barriers are one of the main threats to river ecosystems, resulting in habitat fragmentation and loss of connectivity. Yet, the abundance and distribution of most artificial barriers, excluding high-head dams, is poorly documented. We provide a comprehensive assessment of the distribution and typology of artificial barriers in Great Britain, and estimate for the first time the extent of river fragmentation. To this end, barrier data were compiled from existing databases and were ground-truthed by field surveys in England, Scotland and Wales to derive a correction factor for barrier density across Great Britain. Field surveys indicate that existing barrier databases underestimate barrier density by 68%, particularly in the case of low-head structures (<1 m) which are often missing from current records. Field-corrected barrier density estimates ranged from 0.48 barriers/km in Scotland to 0.63 barriers/km in Wales, and 0.75 barriers/km in England. Corresponding estimates of stream fragmentation by weirs and dams only, measured as mean barrier-free length, were 12.30 km in Scotland, 6.68 km in Wales and 5.29 km in England, suggesting the extent of river modification differs between regions. Our study indicates that 97% of the river network in Great Britain is fragmented and <1% of the catchments are free of artificial barriers.
Keywords: Instream infrastructure, Stream barriers, Connectivity, Rivers, Obstacle, inventory, Dams
College: College of Science
Start Page: 756
End Page: 762