Protection Of Biodiversity Through Environmental Flows | 4597
ISSN: 2157-7625

Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography
Open Access

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Protection of biodiversity through environmental flows

Biodiversity & Sustainable Energy Development-2012

Sharad K Jain

Accepted Abstracts: J Ecosyst Ecogr

DOI: 10.4172/2157-7625.S1.010

Flow regime in a river which mainly determines the properties of physical habitats in rivers and controls the growth and sustenance of the river and floodplain ecosystem is considered to be the master variable. Aquatic species in a river segment have evolved based on the natural flow regime and habitats. Clearly these factors govern the biodiversity of the ecosystems and any large change in these adversely affects biodiversity. Significant alteration in flow regimes also facilitates the invasion and growth of exotic species in rivers. Environmental flows are determined and implemented, among the other things, to protect and maintain biodiversity. Computation of environmental flows requires that the responses of species to the altered flow regimes are known and can be predicted. Extensive databases from biological and hydrological sectors are needed to develop such relationships in Indian conditions. Water resources in rivers need to be developed to provide various services to the society: water for drinking, irrigation, and industrial needs, and to generate electrical energy. These developmental activities accompanied by land use changes necessarily impact river flow regime. The framework for surface water development with due emphasis on conservation of biodiversity will require the following: a) identify the species and habitats to be protected, b) Measure or estimate spatial and temporal variation in river flow quality and quantity, c) develop relationships between hydrologic regime, habitats, and aquatic life. Since all these require time and resources, simplified approaches to set environmental flows in the meantime are required. This paper provides a critical review and discussion on these aspects.
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