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Ecological Status of a Patagonian Mountain River: Usefulness of Environmental and Biotic Metrics for Rehabilitation Assessment

By Maria Laura Miserendino, Adriana Mabel Kutschker, Cecilia Brand, Ludmila Andrea la Manna, Cecilia Yanina Di Prinzio, Papazian Gabriela and Jose Omar Bava

Abstract

This work evaluates the consequences of anthropogenic pressures at different sections of a Patagonian mountain river using a set of environmental and biological measures. A map of risk of soil erosion at a basin scale was also produced. The study was conducted at 12 sites along the Percy River system, where physicochemical parameters, riparian ecosystem quality, habitat condition, plants, and macroinvertebrates were investigated. While livestock and wood collection, the dominant activities at upper and mean basin sites resulted in an important loss of the forest cover still the riparian ecosystem remains in a relatively good status of conservation, as do the in-stream habitat conditions and physicochemical features. Besides, most indicators based on macroinvertebrates revealed that both upper and middle basin sections supported similar assemblages, richness, density, and most functional feeding group attributes. Instead, the lower urbanized basin showed increases in conductivity and nutrient values, poor quality in the riparian ecosystem, and habitat condition. According to the multivariate analysis, ammonia level, elevation, current velocity, and habitat conditions had explanatory power on benthos assemblages. Discharge, naturalness of the river channel, flood plain morphology, conservation status, and percent of urban areas were important moderators of plant composition. Finally, although the present land use in the basin would not produce a significant risk of soil erosion, unsustainable practices that promotes the substitution of the forest for shrubs would lead to severe consequences. Mitigation efforts should be directed to protect headwater forest, restore altered riparian ecosystem, and to control the incipient eutrophication process.Fil: Miserendino, Maria Laura. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Patagonia Norte. Centro de Investigación Esquel de Montaña y Estepa Patagóica. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco". Facultad de Ciencias Naturales - Sede Esquel. Centro de Investigación Esquel de Montaña y Estepa Patagónica; ArgentinaFil: Kutschker, Adriana Mabel. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco". Facultad de Ciencias Naturales - Sede Esquel; ArgentinaFil: Brand, Cecilia. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Patagonia Norte. Centro de Investigación Esquel de Montaña y Estepa Patagóica. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco". Facultad de Ciencias Naturales - Sede Esquel. Centro de Investigación Esquel de Montaña y Estepa Patagónica; ArgentinaFil: la Manna, Ludmila Andrea. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "san Juan Bosco". Facultad de Ingeniería - Sede Esquel; ArgentinaFil: Di Prinzio, Cecilia Yanina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Patagonia Norte. Centro de Investigación Esquel de Montaña y Estepa Patagóica. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco". Facultad de Ciencias Naturales - Sede Esquel. Centro de Investigación Esquel de Montaña y Estepa Patagónica; ArgentinaFil: Gabriela, Papazian. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco". Facultad de Ciencias Naturales - Sede Esquel; ArgentinaFil: Bava, Jose Omar. Centro de Investigación y Extensión Forestal Andino-Patagónico; Argentin

Topics: FOREST CONSERVATION, HABITAT QUALITY, LAND USE, MACROINVERTEBRATES, PLANTS, RIPARIAN ECOSYSTEMS, Otras Ciencias Biológicas, Ciencias Biológicas, CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Publisher: 'Springer Science and Business Media LLC'
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s00267-016-0688-0
OAI identifier: oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/56409
Provided by: CONICET Digital
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