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Sensitivity Analysis of a Riparian Vegetation Growth Model

Gerstgraser—Ingenieurbüro für Renaturierung, Cottbus 03042, Germany
Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus 03046, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Research Centre for Constructions—Fluid Dynamics Unit, University of Bologna, Bologna 40131, Italy.
Academic Editor: Yu-Pin Lin
Environments 2016, 3(4), 30;
Received: 13 June 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
PDF [4289 KB, uploaded 17 November 2016]


The paper presents a sensitivity analysis of two main parameters used in a mathematic model able to evaluate the effects of changing hydrology on the growth of riparian vegetation along rivers and its effects on the cross-section width. Due to a lack of data in existing literature, in a past study the schematization proposed here was applied only to two large rivers, assuming steady conditions for the vegetational carrying capacity and coupling the vegetal model with a 1D description of the river morphology. In this paper, the limitation set by steady conditions is overcome, imposing the vegetational evolution dependent upon the initial plant population and the growth rate, which represents the potential growth of the overall vegetation along the watercourse. The sensitivity analysis shows that, regardless of the initial population density, the growth rate can be considered the main parameter defining the development of riparian vegetation, but it results site-specific effects, with significant differences for large and small rivers. Despite the numerous simplifications adopted and the small database analyzed, the comparison between measured and computed river widths shows a quite good capability of the model in representing the typical interactions between riparian vegetation and water flow occurring along watercourses. After a thorough calibration, the relatively simple structure of the code permits further developments and applications to a wide range of alluvial rivers. View Full-Text
Keywords: river modelling; carrying capacity; riparian vegetation; vegetation density; plant growth rate; riparian vegetation biodynamics; river morphodynamics river modelling; carrying capacity; riparian vegetation; vegetation density; plant growth rate; riparian vegetation biodynamics; river morphodynamics

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Nones, M.; Varrani, A. Sensitivity Analysis of a Riparian Vegetation Growth Model. Environments 2016, 3, 30.

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