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Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams: Perspectives for critical zone science and research on socio‐ecosystems

Abstract : Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES) are now recognized to support specific freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem services and represent approximately half of the global river network, a fraction that is likely to increase in the context of global changes. Despite large research efforts on IRES during the past few decades, there is a need for developing a systemic approach to IRES that considers their hydrological, hydrogeological, hydraulic, ecological, and biogeochemical properties and processes, as well as their interactions with human societies. Thus, we assert that the interdisciplinary approach to ecosystem research promoted by critical zone sciences and socio‐ecology is relevant. These approaches rely on infrastructure—Critical Zone Observatories (CZO) and Long‐Term Socio‐Ecological Research (LTSER) platforms—that are representative of the diversity of IRES (e.g., among climates or types of geology. We illustrate this within the French CZO and LTSER, including their diversity as socio‐ecosystems, and detail human interactions with IRES. These networks are also specialized in the long‐term observations required to detect and measure ecosystem responses of IRES to climate and human forcings despite the delay and buffering effects within ecosystems. The CZO and LTSER platforms also support development of innovative techniques and data analysis methods that can improve characterization of IRES, in particular for monitoring flow regimes, groundwater‐surface water flow, or water biogeochemistry during rewetting. We provide scientific and methodological perspectives for which this interdisciplinary approach and its associated infrastructure would provide relevant and original insights that would help fill knowledge gaps about IRES.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03223974
Contributor : Isabelle Nault <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 11:59:24 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 12:38:02 PM

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Ophélie Fovet, Axel Belemtougri, Laurie Boithias, Isabelle Braud, Jean‐baptiste Charlier, et al.. Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams: Perspectives for critical zone science and research on socio‐ecosystems. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, Wiley, In press, ⟨10.1002/wat2.1523⟩. ⟨hal-03223974⟩

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