Flood disturbance and the distribution of riparian species diversity

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64 Scopus citations


Biodiversity varies considerably in Southern Californian riparian vegetation. The intermediate disturbance hypothesis posits greatest diversity in settings that are subject to moderate-intensity disturbance. Flood intensity tends to vary systematically in watersheds, potentially imposing patterns of biodiversity. In two study watersheds, species richness increases with flood severity. Diversity, or heterogeneity, is less predictable: Biodiversity patterns in these watersheds are complicated by atypical patterns of flood severity. Although riparian diversity maybe intimately dependent on flood disturbance, the relationship is predictable only with due attention to the physiographic details of individual stream networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-483
Number of pages16
JournalGeographical Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Biodiversity
  • Floods
  • Riparian vegetation
  • Stream power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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