Plant roots steer resilience to perturbation of river floodplains

Valentina Bau', Alistair Borthwick, Paolo Perona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Freshwater ecosystems along river floodplains host among the greatest biodiversity on Earth and are known to respond to anthropic pressure. For water impounded systems, resilience to changes in the natural flow regime is believed to be bi-directional. Whether such resilience prevents the system from returning to pristine conditions after the flow regime changes reverse is as yet unclear, though widely documented. In this work we show that temporal irreversibility of river floodplains to recover their status may be explained by the dynamics of riparian water-tolerant plant roots. Our model is a quantitative tool that will benefit scientists and practitioners in predicting the impact of changing flow regimes on long-term river floodplain dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021GL092388
Number of pages21
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number9
Early online date26 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2021


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