Landscape unit characterisation

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Landscape unit


Characterisation of the form and process domain(s) associated with water and sediment delivery potential of the landscape unit:

  • Rainfall
  • Topography (broad characterisation of elevation range, slope, form)
  • Geology / soils (aquifers and weathering/erosion susceptibility)
  • Land cover, which controls water and sediment delivery to the drainage network
  • Natural riparian vegetation influences interaction between hillslopes/floodplain and river network.
  • Physical pressures / human influences on sediment regime by hydropower plants or retention structures (only needed if all upstream segments or reaches are not being characterised

Data layers and hydromorphologically relevant parameters

Essential GIS layers: DEM, geology (solid), land cover.

Optional GIS layers: soil permeability; geology (superficial); rainfall records

From these and aerial imagery derive measures of landscape form, river network extent, erosion susceptibility.

Assemble appropriate publications, maps and databases to establish potential ‘natural’ floodplain forests or riparian (and aquatic) vegetation.

Data sets are required which indicate the position of hydropower plants, retention structures and their ability to totally or partially retaining sediments and large wood.

Potential data sources


Water delivery potential

Rainfall: (1) summary characteristics of rainfall amount and regime

Relief / Topoography: (1) drainage density; (2) hypsometric curve; (3) surface slope - elevation

Surface:Groundwater: proportion of landscape unit with (1) exposed aquifers; (2) soil/rock permeability classes

Land cover: (1) proportion of landscape unit under land cover classes (Corine – Level 2)

Sediment production

Potential fine sediment production: (1) soil erosion map layer; (2) average soil erosion rate

Potential coarse sediment production: (1) potential sources map layer; (2) Sources-slope gradient map layer

Physical pressures on sediment regime

Total or partial retention of sediment and large wood by hydropower plants: (1) Hydropower plant layer (location, type, size etc); (2) Other retention structures map layer (location, type, size etc).

Total or partial retention of sediment and large wood by other structures (e.g. torrent control structures)

(Physical pressures only required if a full characterisation of all segments is not intended)

More details on the characterisation of landscape units can be found in chapter 5 of Deliverable 2.1.