9th Workshop Floodplain Ecology
April 24-26, 2019
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Natural and nature-like floodplains exhibit high temporal and spatial dynamics of aquatic and terrestrial zones and periods. Seasonal, longer-term as well as daily discharge fluctuations, frequent relocation of the sediments or the transfer of nutrients result in a high diversity of habitats. Floodplains connect riverine landscapes and adjacent terrestrial ecosystems. They are hotspots for species-rich plant and animal communities and a high biodiversity.
Today, large floodplain areas are claimed by agriculture, human settlements or infrastructure such as highways or railways. Remaining forests are often intensively managed, sometimes as monoculture of only few, non-native tree species. To secure these uses, flood protection dikes have been built which separate the floodplains from the river and thus from regular inundations.
A recently published inventory of Austrian floodplains identified 823 floodplain sites covering an area of approx. 95 km2. A scientific survey documented along the 50 largest Austrian rivers (catchment size > 500 km2) a potential floodplain zone of approx. 4739 km2. Mostly, these areas are situated in the basins of alpine rivers.
The figures demonstrate the present rareness of natural, frequently inundated floodplains. Preserving still existing sites and restoring of degraded systems are key especially when taking into account the value of floodplains for improving the ecological status according to the Water Framework Directive. In addition, natural or nature-like floodplains provide a multitude of ecosystem services. They contribute to the self-purification capacity of riverine landscapes or to the retention of nutrients and flood discharges.
Preservation and restoration of floodplains are the focus of the 9th Workshop on Floodplain Ecology. Potential topics of oral and poster presentations cover monitoring of habitats, biodiversity and human impacts, principles of floodplain protection as well as restoration up to the monitoring of success. With respect to the organizing country, we would like to put an emphasis on alpine rivers and their floodplains.