Relationships Among Anthropogenic Disturbances Representative Riparian and Non-Riparian Herbaceous Indicators (Biomass and Diversity), Land Use, and Lotic Water Quality: Implications on Rehabilitation of Lotic Waters

Research paper by Pattiyage I. A. Gomes, Onyx W. H. Wai, R. K. A. Kularatne, T. D. P. Priyankara, K. G. M. S. Anojika, G. M. N. R. Kumari

Indexed on: 27 Aug '14Published on: 27 Aug '14Published in: Water, Air, & Soil Pollution


This study was carried out to evaluate the linkages among herbaceous plant biomass (i.e., aboveground and litter biomasses) and diversity (Shannon-Wiener index) in riparian and non-riparian areas, land use, and lotic water quality (which included first- and second-order natural streams, a canal, and a reach of a lowland river). Herb stands selected were free from anthropogenic disturbances such as farming and construction activities for a period of 3 years (this was the dominant and peak frequency of disturbances of the study area). The results suggested that herb indicators are good representatives of the land use. However, land use explanations for herb indicators were complex and not universal for all lotic waters. The correlations between herb indicators and water quality were strong for the low-order natural streams. In these streams, herb indicators explained >36 % of the total variation with several statistically significant herb indicators. However, the large river section showed weak correlations. Furthermore, the canal’s hydrology (connectivity to sea) seemed to be more influential in shaping its water quality. This study demonstrated that the rehabilitation works with a span of 3–4 years using herbs in riparian and/or non-riparian areas could significantly improve water quality of low-order streams with natural origin.