Human changes to the natural flow of rivers results in simplified plant networks

The natural pattern of river flows, with frequent flood events, has been substantially altered worldwide through dams and other forms of water diversion for human uses. A new modeling study now shows that changing historical flow patterns results in simplified interactions between plant species in and around rivers, and the replacement of large riverside trees with shrubs. These changes to plant species are influenced by the loss of frequent floods, increased droughts, and a river flow pattern that is more stable than is normal. The new work in Nature Ecology & Evolution was coauthored by SAFS professor Julian Olden.

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