Changing connectivity properties impacting resilience in riverine landscapes as socio-ecological systems

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  1. To analyse the linkage between connectivity (and its properties – functional and structural components as well as feedback loops), resilience and stability in industrialized riverine landscapes (IRL) as socio-ecological systems including co-evolutionary aspects;
  2. To determine the specific effects of river floodplain restoration on the resilience of ecological and social components of IRL and their interactions at different scales;
  3. To explore the role of changing connectivity (hydrological, ecological) of different landscape elements and their configuration on resilience aspects in IRL and how these interact with future drivers of change (climate change, land use change) and different ecosystem service profiles of IRL;
  4. To expand this knowledge to other systems with interlinked system domains. The research will be based on an empirical study (ecological and social), targeted experimental work and a modelling approach and will build on large available datasets and own data collections.

We have the option to analyse the role of connectivity on ecosystem functions like self purification (nutrient retention) or biodiversity (habitat availability). The system of interest will be for example the whole Danube stretch and major floodplain areas. Most of them are impacted in their lateral exchange with the river channel and this impacts ecological connectivity and thus various ecosystem functions and related services. Still most of these floodplain areas are also protected areas and important as site for nutrient regulation. Biodiversity of species is related to the lateral exchange, but also to the riverine conditions along the riverine channel (Funk et al. 2019). Management and restoration scenarios could form the basis for an analysis of how connectivity improvements might affect overall outcomes at different scales (floodplain scale, river section and whole river scale).

Expected Results

  1. Understanding how changing connectivity properties based on river floodplain restoration measures impact IRL resilience at different scales using connectivity based theories such as the Graph Theory;
  2. How resilience of different system components is related to changes in structural and functional connectivity in IRL;
  3. how the knowledge about the critical role of connectivity for riverine management is transferred to other disciplines;
  4. new model frameworks.

Other Positions in Resilience

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University of Vienna (Austria)

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ESR 13

Durham University (United Kingdom)

Resilience of human interactions with new landscapes


BOKU (Austria)

Changing connectivity properties impacting resilience in riverine landscapes as socio-ecological systems