Great Northern LCC invests in understanding importance of gravel-bed river ecosystems to landscapes
Gravel-bed river floodplains are critically important to sustaining regional biodiversity and landscape-scale ecological integrity. The North Fork of the Flathead, flowing from British Columbia to Montana, is one example in the Great Northern geography. Photo courtesy: Becky Petrashek
Based on the premise that gravel-bed river floodplains are overlooked as ecological regulators of mountain landscapes, a team of scientists set out to synthesize decades of research, from hydrological processes to grizzly bear movements, in the northern Rocky Mountains.
Their resulting interdisciplinary review, published in the journal Science Advances, describes the importance of these ecosystems in sustaining regional biodiversity and landscape-scale ecological integrity.
The review emphasizes that management efforts should aim at improving and maintaining connectivity throughout the length and width of gravel-bed rivers, including associated floodplains, to achieve the greatest conservation benefits for a wide range of plants and animals.
Read about the Great Northern LCC research that helped support this work:
- Predicting Effects of Climate Change on Aquatic Ecosystems in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem: Combining Vulnerability Assessments, Landscape Connectivity, and Modeling for Conservation and Adaptation
- Document Fine Scale Linkage Areas and Conservation Delivery of the Northern Rockies in US and Canada
- Core Habitat Identification and Fine Scale Habitat Use of Grizzly Bears in the US Northern Rockies and Southern Canada
Also see the Great Northern LCC Ecological Connectivity Atlas. The atlas contains connectivity data that can be used to inform landscape-scale resource management decisions and activities.