Rivers and lakes are among our most loved ecosystems. They are hotspots of biodiversity in the landscape and support recreation and eco-tourism. Yet, sadly they are under increasing and diverse stress as a result of human activity. They are used as conduits for domestic and industrial waste, straightened and reinforced to meet water storage and supply demands, and cut off from floodplains to support food production. They are also extremely sensitive to the effects of climate change.
As a result, they are experiencing the most rapid biodiversity losses of all ecosystems, globally.
Our ability to manage these ‘multiple stressors’ is hampered, however, as we know little about how they interact with one another. This is especially important as we seek climate change mitigation options. Is it possible that by relieving one stressor we could make the effects of another worse?
Source: UK CEH