WIT Press

Riparian Forest Structure, Vegetation Cover And Flood Events In The Piave River


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

137 - 147




982 kb


L. Picco, L. Mao, E. Rigon, J. Moretto, D. Ravazzolo, F. Delai & M. A. Lenzi


Until very recently, rivers have been considered as the result of the interaction between water and sediments, thus simplifying this very complex system. In doing so, one important component was missed. This is vegetation, namely trees growing on banks, floodplains, and bars/islands. The pattern of riparian vegetation in gravel bed rivers depends on the climate, hydrological regime, floods, sediment transport and the morphological settings of the river. Also, the marked spatial variability of density, height, species diversity, age, and rates of growth reflects the very complex nature of bed colonization, the strong influence of sequences and magnitude of floods, and the feedbacks between morphology, vegetation and hydraulics. Furthermore, a wide array of human impacts acting at either the basin or river network scales can influence substantially the morphodynamics and thus the characteristics, types and distribution of vegetation within the river corridor. The aim of the work is to analyze the relationship between the vegetation structure and the morphological characteristics of two sub-reaches of the Piave river which suffered both floods and intense and multiple human impacts especially due to dam building and inchannel gravel mining. Six cross sections were surveyed and vegetation, soil variables and sediment deposited were measured on 214 plots, (4 x 4 m each one and 10 m spaced). Each vegetation plot were recognized on a recent aerial photo (2009) and its ages were calculated performing both a multi-temporal analysis of older photos (1960, 70, 80, 91, 99, 2006 and 2009) and a dendro-chronological


Italy, riparian forest, floods, vegetation cover, gravel bed rivers