European Project for web-assisted Environmental Education
  freeyourriver Background information Library Ecosystem modification   Ecosystem protection

Protection of water ecosystems  (*)  

(*) related to the LANDSCAPE chapter of FYR Checklist

The loss of riverine environments exposes man to various risks. In fact, a healthy ecosystem can control the effects of floods, avoid catastrophic inundations, and provide a constant self-purification of waters.

Hence, the preservation of freshwater ecosystems is necessary to provide safety and a regular supply of potable water.

Subsequently, it ensures food supplies and the hygiene of millions of people in the poorest countries, who depend on rivers for fishing and, on wetlands, for producing food and fibres. This is a further reason to support the protection and management of water ecosystems as they are fundamental for reducing poverty and sustaining the economy of many countries The decline in the health of the environment in most of world’s watersheds is seen in symptoms such as the decrease of fish stocks, the variations in flow causing flooding and drought, and the deterioration of the water quality.

Methods of sustainable management are necessary to preserve and restore the correct functioning of rivers, lakes, wetlands, and flood areas. This is the only way to ensure a steady supply of water and to improve its quality. For this purpose, “natural approaches” exist, which are based on the restoration of the environmental functionality of rivers and their territories (questions 10-11-12-13 of Landscape): for example the restoration of humid areas, which act as filtering ecosystems, and of vegetative riparian zones that not only act as buffers that reduce the presence of nutrients, but also contribute to the improvement of the quality of the water.

(to deepen this topic see MORPHOLOGICAL ASPECTS Chapter of FYR Checklist)