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Uncertainty of macrophyte-based monitoring for different types of lowland rivers

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The aim of the study was to estimate the reliability of ecological status classification with the use of macrophytes for lowland rivers with different habitat conditions, corresponding to the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Surveys were carried out on 267 river sites representing five lowland river types in Poland. The reliability of four macrophyte-based assessment systems was quantified for five river types (i.e., small siliceous with sandy substrate, medium siliceous with sandy substrate, large siliceous with sandy substrate, medium siliceous with stony substrate and medium organic). A variable effect of river type on particular assessment systems may be explained in the context of indicative species pool, abundance scales and weighting species importance. Additionally, new class limits for the Ecological Quality Ratios (EQRs) are proposed for the purpose of macrophyte-based classification for the WFD. The estimated range of uncertainty was used to calculate the probability of misclassification of a site within a five-class system of river quality. Large differences between methods were found. It was revealed that certain assessment systems may have adequate sampling precision to be applied in monitoring for a majority of lowland river types. The ecological status of large with sandy substrate rivers appeared difficult to assess using macrophyte-based systems.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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  • The Belgian Journal of Botany (now known as Plant Ecology and Evolution) is an international journal open to all fields of plant sciences. Please note, however, that papers restricted to purely nomenclatural matters or to floristical data of only local interest will not be accepted. The Journal appears in one volume of two issues per year. It publishes reviews, original research papers, short notes, letters to the editor, and book reviews. Click here for current issues of this journal
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