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Environmental FlowsSaving Rivers in the Third Millennium$
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Angela H. Arthington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273696

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273696.001.0001

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Catchments, Drainage Networks, and Resource Regimes

Catchments, Drainage Networks, and Resource Regimes

(p.35) 3 Catchments, Drainage Networks, and Resource Regimes
Environmental Flows

Angela H. Arthington

University of California Press

Water is delivered (drained) to each freshwater system from its catchment or drainage basin (watershed)-an area of land that collects precipitation and drains water to a common point in the landscape. Drainage networks can be described as dendritic (branching), trellised, rectangular, radial, centripetal, annular, and distributary. Many rivers flow through different climatic, geologic, topographic, and biological zones as they increase in basin area. These differences and the associated longitudinal geomorphic gradients impart spatial variability to river flow regimes within individual basins. The flow regime and physical habitat characterizing each zone along the gradient and distinctive hydrogeomorphic patches together provide the physical habitat template for shaping its biotic communities and delimiting ecosystem processes (e.g., organic matter dynamics, nutrient spiralling, system metabolism, and productivity).

Keywords:   catchments, drainage networks, longitudinal geomorphic gradients, hydrogeomorphic patches, flow regime variability, physical habitat template

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