This paper investigates the transformation mechanism between different channel patterns. A developed 2D depth-averaged numerical model is improved to take into account a bank vegetation stress term in the momentum conservation equation of flow. Then, the extended 2D model is applied to duplicate the evolution of channel pattern with variations in flow discharge, sediment supply and bank vegetation. Complex interaction among the flow discharge, sediment supply and bank vegetation leads to a transition from the braided pattern to the meandering one. Analysis of the simulation process indicates that (1) a decrease in the flow discharge and sediment supply can lead to the transition and (2) the riparian vegetation helps stabilize the cut bank and bar surface, but is not a key in the transition. The results are in agreement with the criterion proposed in the previous research, confirming the 2D numerical model’s potential in predicting the transition between different channel patterns and improving understanding of the fluvial process.
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