River and Lake Catchments: Ecological Challenges, Hydrological Changes, Environmental Problems

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 February 2024) | Viewed by 6371

Special Issue Editors

School of Computer Engineering, Jinling Institute of Technology, Hongjing Avenue 99, Nanjing 211169, China
Interests: catchment hydrology; hydrological processes; hydrological regionalization; hydrological modeling; application of machine learning in hydrology; soil hydrological processes; soil-vegetation interactions

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Guest Editor
Department of Geography, University of Marburg, 35037 Marburg, Germany
Interests: watershed hydrology; integrated lake/river; soil and water conservation; river engineering; soil degradation; contamination; dryland
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to announce the opening of a new Special Issue in the Applied Sciences journal.

The topics of interest for this Special Issue include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Spatial differentiation (characteristic upstream and downstream sections) of catchments;
  • Land cover changes causing discharge changes and hydrologic extremes;
  • Climate change causing discharge changes and hydrologic extremes;
  • Water withdrawal and consequences in different catchment sections;
  • Growing population number and consequences for river and lake catchments;
  • Pollution of rivers and lakes coming from different catchment sections;
  • External impacts on river and lake catchments;
  • Wetland and habitat functions of different catchment sections;
  • Vegetation cover and vegetation belts as barriers to environmental impacts on catchments;
  • River-lake (including reservoirs) sequences as water and sediment storage bodies;
  • Transboundary catchments;
  • Estuaries and lower catchments under the influence of sea level rise.

Dr. Tom Lotz
Prof. Dr. Christian Opp
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • river and lake catchments
  • hydrology
  • water resources
  • wetlands
  • biodiversity
  • habitat functions
  • ecosystem services
  • land use changes
  • pollution
  • climate change
  • sea level rise
  • sustainable development

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

24 pages, 3782 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Impact of Wildfires on Lake Water Quality Using Earth Observation Satellites
by Rossana Caroni, Monica Pinardi, Gary Free, Daniela Stroppiana, Lorenzo Parigi, Giulio Tellina, Mariano Bresciani, Clément Albergel and Claudia Giardino
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(6), 2626; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14062626 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 563
Abstract
A study was carried out to investigate the effects of wildfires on lake water quality using a source dataset of 2024 lakes worldwide, covering different lake types and ecological settings. Satellite-derived datasets (Lakes_cci and Fire_cci) were used and a Source Pathway Receptor approach [...] Read more.
A study was carried out to investigate the effects of wildfires on lake water quality using a source dataset of 2024 lakes worldwide, covering different lake types and ecological settings. Satellite-derived datasets (Lakes_cci and Fire_cci) were used and a Source Pathway Receptor approach applied which was conceptually represented by fires (burned area) as a source, precipitation/drought representing transport dynamics, and lakes as the ultimate receptor. This identified 106 lakes worldwide that are likely prone to be impacted by wildfires via a terrestrial pathway. Satellite-derived chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and turbidity variables were used as indicators to detect changes in lake water quality potentially induced by wildfires over a four-year period. The lakes with the largest catchment areas burned and characterized by regular annual fires were located in Africa. Evidence for a strong influence of wildfires was not found across the dataset examined, although clearer responses were seen for some individual lakes. However, among the hydro-morphological characteristics examined, lake depth was found to be significant in determining Chl-a concentration peaks which were higher in shallow and lower in deep lakes. Lake turbidity responses indicated a dependence on lake catchment and weather conditions. While wildfires are likely to contribute to the nutrient load of lakes as found in previous studies, it is possible that in many cases it is not a dominant pressure and that its manifestation as a signal in lake Chl-a or turbidity values depends to a large part on lake typology and catchment characteristics. Assessment of lake water quality changes six months after a fire showed that Chl-a concentrations either increased, decreased, or showed no changes in a similar number of lakes, indicating that a lake specific ecological and hydro-morphological context is important for understanding lake responses to wildfires. Full article
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13 pages, 3050 KiB  
Article
Characteristics and Release Risk of Phosphorus from Sediments in a Karst Canyon Reservoir, China
by Liu-Ying Yang, Shu-Lin Jiao, Lei Wang, Yin-Jiu Li, Mei Yang, Ye-Lin Feng, Juan Li and Zong-Xiao Wei
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(6), 2482; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14062482 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 451
Abstract
With the continuous improvement of surface water environmental quality in China, sediment has gradually become the focus of research on internal pollution in reservoirs. To investigate the forms, distribution, and migration patterns of phosphorus in karst canyon reservoir sediments, we employed an improved [...] Read more.
With the continuous improvement of surface water environmental quality in China, sediment has gradually become the focus of research on internal pollution in reservoirs. To investigate the forms, distribution, and migration patterns of phosphorus in karst canyon reservoir sediments, we employed an improved sequential graded extraction method to determine phosphorus content in the sediments of the Wanfeng Reservoir. We studied the spatial distribution characteristics and release risk of phosphorus form in the sediments. The results showed that the total phosphorus (TP) content ranged from 79.37 to 438.04 mg·kg−1, while inorganic phosphorus (IP) content ranged from 77.32 to 424.64 mg·kg−1. Iron–aluminum-bound inorganic phosphorus (Fe/Al-Pi) accounted for 36.41% and was found to be the dominant form of IP. Organic phosphorus (OP) content ranged from 1.84 to 13.59 mg·kg−1, with weakly adsorbed organic phosphorus (H2O-Po) being the dominant form of OP. Potentially active inorganic phosphorus (NaHCO3-Pi) showed a highly significant positive correlation (p < 0.01) with Fe/Al-Pi, residual phosphorus (Res-P), and TP. This indicates that potentially active phosphorus (NaHCO3-P) is a significant potential source of phosphorus (P) in the reservoir. Biologically active phosphorus (BAP) content ranged from 66.97 to 201.46 mg·kg−1, with BAP/TP ratios ranging from 55.6% to 59.6%. The risk of phosphorus release from Wanfeng Reservoir sediments is high. The release of various forms of phosphorus from sediments is one of the important factors leading to the deterioration of water quality in the reservoir area in the future. To effectively manage water ecology in karst canyon reservoirs, it is essential to reduce the risk of endogenous phosphorus release. Full article
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14 pages, 8558 KiB  
Article
Ecological Importance of Alkaline Phosphatase Activity and Acid Phosphatase Activity in Lakes with Different Catchment Use Structures
by Ewelina Janicka, Jolanta Kanclerz and Tropikë Agaj
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14020497 - 05 Jan 2024
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Surface waters in Europe and across other continents have been affected by anthropogenic activities, leading to changes in the ecological state of lakes due to the continuous phenomenon of eutrophication. This study assesses the activity of enzymes secreted in bottom sediments collected from [...] Read more.
Surface waters in Europe and across other continents have been affected by anthropogenic activities, leading to changes in the ecological state of lakes due to the continuous phenomenon of eutrophication. This study assesses the activity of enzymes secreted in bottom sediments collected from two lakes, aiming to determine the interaction between bottom sediments and water based on samples collected from lake bottoms and overlying water. The study measured the production of secreted enzymes via alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and acidic phosphatase (ACP) in two distinct environments. Sample collection encompassed two lakes within two diverse catchment types (agroforestry and forest) during spring and summer. The findings revealed higher ACP values than ALP in both lake environments, with higher enzyme values recorded in the lake with a typical forest catchment area. High values of enzymes were related to the pollutant’s input into the lakes, suggesting that anthropogenic activities may have a substantial influence on the studied lakes. Principal component analysis (PCA) allowed the identification of a negative correlation between the enzymatic activity of phosphorus in bottom sediments and the content of organic phosphorus (org-P) in overlying waters only within the forest catchment, where the angle between the vectors representing primary variables is close to 180 degrees. The conducted statistical analysis demonstrated significant distinctions among the lakes concerning most of the examined parameters. Full article
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32 pages, 7770 KiB  
Article
Study of the Ecosystem Service Value Gradient at the Land–Water Interface Zone of the Xijiang River Mainstem
by Yang Huang, Junling Deng, Min Xiao, Yujie Huang, Hui Li, Yinyin Xiao and Yiting Huang
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(18), 10485; https://doi.org/10.3390/app131810485 - 20 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 940
Abstract
The ecosystem service value (ESV) gradient-evolution pattern of a river basin’s land and water-intertwined zones has a variety of ecosystem service values, such as biodiversity conservation, water conservation, water purification, etc. The study of the ecosystem service value (ESV) gradient-evolution pattern of a [...] Read more.
The ecosystem service value (ESV) gradient-evolution pattern of a river basin’s land and water-intertwined zones has a variety of ecosystem service values, such as biodiversity conservation, water conservation, water purification, etc. The study of the ecosystem service value (ESV) gradient-evolution pattern of a river basin’s land and water-intertwined zones will provide a scientific basis for the construction and protection of the ecological security pattern of the river basins. In this study, we combined the unit area equivalent factor method and geographically weighted regression (GWR) model to classify and analyze the gradient change pattern of ESV upstream, downstream, and along the river of the Guangdong mainstream section of the Xijiang River in China, and the conclusions are as follows: (1) The corresponding ESV share of each land use type was in the following order: water bodies > broad-leaved forest > artificial wetland > scrub > paddy field > coniferous forest > natural wetland > grassland. The level of each type of ESV does not depend entirely on the size of the area but is determined by the ecosystem service functions it can provide and the level of ESV per unit area; (2) the relationship between land use types along both sides of the river in the Guangdong section of the Xijiang River Basin shows a tendency to shift from water ecosystems to terrestrial ecosystems, and the ESV gradually decreases with the increase in distance from the water. (3) The upstream to the downstream area showed a trend of changing from terrestrial ecosystems to aquatic ecosystems, such as broad-leaved forests, scrublands, water bodies, artificial wetlands, etc., and the mean land ESV showed a general trend of undulating change and decline with the reduction in the distance from the downstream area. (4) Natural factors, such as the topography and geomorphology of the basin and the socio-economic factors of power consumption, influence the spatial distribution characteristics of the ESV in the region; among them, socio-economic factors, such as total power consumption, industrial exhaust gas emissions, industrial wastewater emissions, etc., in the economically developed areas of the Xijiang River Basin are the determinants of the changes in ESV, which are generated by human living and production activities, and these indirectly affect the magnitude of the ESV by influencing the factors of temperature and gas. Full article
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16 pages, 5149 KiB  
Article
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Discharge Loads Assessment Using the SWAT Model: A Case Study of the Shatt Al-Arab River Basin
by Hadi Salim Aoubid and Christian Opp
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(14), 8376; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13148376 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 993
Abstract
Understanding the link between land use/land cover (LULC) patterns and water quality can establish guidelines for non-point source pollution management and sustainable development. The transboundary Shatt Al-Arab river basin (Iraq-Iran) suffers from nutrient pollution problems. This study aimed to estimate flow volume, nitrogen, [...] Read more.
Understanding the link between land use/land cover (LULC) patterns and water quality can establish guidelines for non-point source pollution management and sustainable development. The transboundary Shatt Al-Arab river basin (Iraq-Iran) suffers from nutrient pollution problems. This study aimed to estimate flow volume, nitrogen, and phosphorus pollution in this basin and how such pollution relates to LULC and flow volume using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. The data used in the SWAT model were the Digital Elevation Model (DEM), slope, parent materials of soil, LULC, and weather data (i.e., precipitation, relative humidity, temperature, solar radiation, and wind speed). The results showed that from 2004 to 2021, the annual Total Nitrogen (TN) and Total Phosphorus (TP) outputs were 618 and 140 kg km−2, respectively. The TN discharge load ranged from 27 to 6500 kg km−2 yr−1, while the TP discharge load ranged from 1 to 1600 kg km−2 yr−1. Redundancy Analysis (RDA) revealed that cropland and urban cover ratios were positively correlated with the annual TN and TP discharge loads. On the contrary, shrubland and bare land ratios were negatively correlated with the annual TN and TP discharge loads. Results showed that flow volume is positively correlated with precipitation. Both annual TN and TP discharge loads exhibited a positive correlation with flow volume and a negative correlation with subbasin area. The highest annual TN and TP discharge loads were in the middle parts of the basin, where the cultivated land and construction land are concentrated and the flow volume is high. Thus, findings suggest that the basin is sensitive to shifts in flow volume associated with global climate change and to shifts in LULC change. No study for nutrient discharge load assessment for the entire Shatt Al-Arab river basin has been performed before. Hence, the novel contribution of this study will guide the hydrologists and water resource planners in the basin to establish effective water policies, climate change mitigation strategies, and environmental change adaptation strategies. Full article
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15 pages, 3744 KiB  
Article
Preliminary Analysis of the Water Quality Status in an Urban Mediterranean River
by Christina Papadaki, Sergios Lagogiannis and Elias Dimitriou
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 6698; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13116698 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1559
Abstract
Recreational use of urban rivers is becoming popular since rivers may act as amenity corridors with the potential for exhibition, recreation, leisure, relaxation and retreat. However, several point and non-point pollution sources contribute to the degradation of urban rivers’ water quality, thereby impeding [...] Read more.
Recreational use of urban rivers is becoming popular since rivers may act as amenity corridors with the potential for exhibition, recreation, leisure, relaxation and retreat. However, several point and non-point pollution sources contribute to the degradation of urban rivers’ water quality, thereby impeding their beneficial uses and amenities. The physicochemical and microbiological quality of a Greek urban river (Kifisos–Athens) was analyzed over a period of 12 months. A sampling campaign was implemented, collecting monthly data from five sites. Spearman’s analysis showed significant correlation of the Hellenic Water Quality Index with specific nutrients. The total physicochemical status of all sampling stations was characterized as poor or bad. The annual average concentration of Escherichia coli (E. coli) was extremely high in four sites out of five, ranging from 16,822 to 26,780 cfu/100 mL. Bacteriological quality was unacceptable, as the study demonstrated the widespread occurrence of E. coli and low-quality physiochemical conditions. The spatiotemporal distribution of pollution levels revealed hotspots to be monitored further via automatic monitoring stations. A series of management and restoration measures, including tracing the exact pollution routes, should be initiated to minimize pollution pressures and establish the good ecological status of an important Mediterranean river. Full article
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