How does my river work?

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What's in this wiki? Click image to return to the overview of river basin management plan.

Knowing how a river works is essential for achieving success in river restoration. It should be the first step in any restoration process, and the basis for any future river basin management plan. Important aspects are hydromorphology (river characterization), the role of vegetation, and ecosystem services.


Describing the ecosystem structure, or the characterisation of your river system, is the basic requirement for effective restoration. Change is the primary characteristic of a river. The spatial scales of a river are important to understand as well as understanding the time scales in which river respond to pressures and measures applied on and in the river.


We developed the Multi-scale Hierarchical Framework to systematically describe your river and catchment. We give an overview of the method and show example case-studies in which the framework is applied.

Role of vegetation

In addition to the ecosystem structure, the "Ecosystem functioning" is important. REFORM focuses on the influence that hydromorphology has on plant and animal habitat. This section focuses especially on the reciprocal relation of hydromorphology and water plants. Understanding this relation is a major factor in the success or failure of restoration projects.

Ecosystem services

The ecosystem structure of your river can make it suitable for many human uses. We call these used ecosystem services as they are provided by the ecosystem. This section describes REFORM's results to valuate the services in a river system so you can assess effects of river restoration on the services provided.