Multiple stressors in riparian ecosystems

John C. Stella, Jacob Bendix

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

58 Scopus citations


Woody plants adapted to the dynamic environment of river corridors are foundation species in riparian ecosystems globally. Riparian forests and woodlands are adaptable to natural disturbances such as floods, droughts, fire, and herbivory. Collectively, these multiple stressors have a profound influence on vegetation composition, structure, and dynamics. Human pressures from land use, habitat degradation, water diversion, modified flood and fire regimes, invasive species and nonnative pests, and climate change modify and interact with natural drivers to create combinations of stressors on riparian ecosystems. Multiple stressors can interact additively, synergistically, and/or antagonistically to influence plant survival, reproduction, growth, function, and ultimately the composition and structure of riparian communities. In this chapter, we examine the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on riparian communities and outline challenges for management. We also discuss multiple stressors in the context of ecological theory and economic production functions, and the trade-offs inherent in studying long-lived organisms over large spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMultiple Stressors in River Ecosystems
Subtitle of host publicationStatus, Impacts and Prospects for the Future
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780128117132
ISBN (Print)9780128118009
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Disturbance
  • Ecosystem services
  • Fluvial processes
  • Multiple stressors
  • Production function
  • Riparian forests
  • Trade-offs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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