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Biogeomorphologic succession dynamics in a Mediterranean river system

Abstract : Biogeomorphologic succession (i.e. reciprocal adjustments between vegetation and geomorphologic dynamics) of the Mediterranean River Tech, France, was analysed using aerial photographs over a period of sixty years between 1942 and 2000. A spatial analysis of the biogeomorphologic succession was undertaken considering effects of flood regime. Interactions between vegetation dynamics and flood events largely controlled the spontaneous replacement of the dense riparian forest removed in October 1940 during an exceptional high magnitude flood event with a recurrence time !100 yr. In response to this major disturbance event, the fluvial landscape demonstrated a very high resilience emphasizing the existence of a positive feedback driven by pioneer riparian vegetation. The observed feedback corresponded to landform accretion, vegetation succession and to an increase of biogeomorphologic stability under current hydrogeomorphologic and bioclimatic conditions. The evolution of the biogeomorphologic system toward stabilisation appeared to be non-linear with a threshold occurring thirty years after the exceptional destructive flood event. This threshold materialized a reinforcement of biogeomorphologic cohesive forces driven by vegetation dynamics. This study showed the control of riparian vegetation on the dynamics of Mediterranean fluvial landscapes and pointed to the need to improve our knowledge about biogeomorphologic succession cycles and threshold dynamics within different biogeomorphologic settings.
Keywords : Biogeomorphologic
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Dov Jean-François Corenblit, Johannes Steiger, Eric Tabacchi. Biogeomorphologic succession dynamics in a Mediterranean river system. Ecography, Wiley, 2010, vol. 33, pp. 1136-1148. ⟨10.1111/j.1600-0587.2010.05894.x⟩. ⟨hal-00959124⟩

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